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N is for No (Catholic Mom)


Sarah Hart

ABC BlocksAs in no time! Ha! Well, actually, it's been a very . . . very . . . VERY busy summer, with little time for breathing (or writing Spirit Spots!!!) in between. As all moms know, summers are nutty. But the joys of having the kids all summer, at home,
has been endless!

So, I was just talking with my hubby tonight about the word "no," and how many times a day I say it. "No, you can't have popsicles for breakfast. . . No, we can't go to Chuck-E-Cheese today. . . No, don't dump that bead kit in the air vent! . . . No, you can't cut your sister's hair. . . No, you can't get your ears pierced yet. . . No, we can't make a wig for the hamster."

"No!"

And then comes that day when your toddler looks up at you and yells "no!" And you wish the word did not exist.

My kids have this uncanny way of "forgetting to listen," to coin the phrase they came up with. And, you know, it's one thing I can honestly, completely relate with! "Forgetting to listen," in adult language, is actually just "not heeding." I "forget to listen" to my husband, my friends, myself (moms, you know what I'm talking about!) and, yes, even my kids (maybe we should go ahead and have popsicles one morning, or make hamster hair though it may be eaten by it's wearer).

And over and over, in my "forgetting to listen," I say "no" to God when I know I should be saying "yes." You know what I mean? You get that little kick in the gut (some people call it conscience; others, women's intuition; I think it's the Holy Spirit) that says "Uh-oh . . . you're gonna regret this no!" I said "no" to helping someone this week that I really, honestly could have done so much more for. And I am kicking myself for it.

Teaching my little people the word "no" is important, to be sure. If they are going to be strong, independent women someday they had better know how to say it! But there is a time for "no" and a time for "yes." God, help me teach them, not just to let "no be no" and "yes be yes," but to listen for you, so they will know when to say each.

For "no" is such a little word. But it carries such weight.

Give me ears to listen.
Give me eyes to see.
Give me words to speak
And show your face to me.

- From Give Me Ears to Listen by Timothy R. Smith

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