Learning to Say Yes

People talk about learning to say no all the time. You don’t have to volunteer for every school fundraiser, be on every work committee or give money to every walkathon. It can be really hard to say no, which is something I had to learn to do. But it’s even harder to say yes. I’m not talking about saying yes to running the school bake sale or hosting a benefit. I’m talking about saying yes to help.

yes

Most of us have had a crisis in our lives, whether it is a death in the family, a car accident or an illness, and have heard the question “what can I do?” from our friends and family. They might even be more direct by offering meals, to go to the store for you, be a taxi for your kids or even clean your house. And we often say “no, that’s okay” or “I’ll be alright.” But you know what, it’s not okay and it’s not alright. There are times we need to just say yes.

My son Joey was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Langerhans Histiocytosis when he was 10. He had to undergo major surgery, spend months in a wheelchair and receive steroid treatment. Dozens of people offered to help and I often found myself saying that we were okay. But the fact is, we weren’t. Luckily there were people who insisted on helping anyway. They brought food, games to keep Joey entertained, took my daughter places and helped however they could.

histio warriors

Histio Warriors Supporting Each Other

In September of 2015, my step-son was in a terrible car accident and spent three months in the hospital. He was in critical condition for the first three weeks, two hours from home. My husband and I stayed in the Ronald McDonald House while my two teenage children were two hours north trying to maintain some type of normal life.

helping hands

This is when I learned to say yes. I knew we needed help and luckily we have tons of friends and family who were willing. People took care of our kids, brought them meals, sent us meals, made sure my kids got to school and my daughter got to work, and did absolutely anything we asked of them. People who we didn’t even know very well helped our family. It was truly amazing.

It was hard to accept the help at first but we quickly realized that we had to. We also learned that people weren’t making empty offers. They truly wanted to help us and they didn’t expect anything in return.

Whether you have a child in the hospital, a parent who passed away, or surgery for yourself, say yes when friends and family offer to help. And when they ask “what can I do?” be honest. Tell them you need someone to go to the grocery, do your laundry or make a meal. Learn to say yes.

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Tweens on the Bus Go Yap, Yap, Yap

I volunteered to go to A’s Speech and Drama competition on Saturday. Twelve sixth, seventh and eighth graders – 10 girls, 2 boys. Oh the drama! We loaded the bus at 6 a.m. I thought they would be exhausted or nervous so they would be quiet and calm. NO! That was not the case. They were loud, excited and goofy as can be. The assistant coach and I were the only adults on the bus.  I just closed my eyes and stayed awake enough to ensure no nonsense was going on. The 1-1/2 hour ride there honestly wasn’t that bad.

Speech and Drama is a girl heavy activity so although there were hundreds of kids, there were only about 20 boys. Those boys managed to make their way around to all the girls. One boy, who was maybe 13, was seen early in the day walking down the hall holding a girl’s hand. By lunch, this boy with his flat billed ball cap on sideways and his pants hanging way too low, was hitting on two of my daughter’s teammates. And of course…. The girls were flattered. I was constantly reminding them we weren’t there to meet boys from other schools but rather to compete. I was constantly calling for the girls to come with our team and leave the boy behind.

The boys weren’t the only ones being a little forward. A girl from another school made a point to give her number to one of our two male competitors – N. This made the bus ride home more drama than I could handle.

We loaded the bus around 6 p.m. to head home. “Where is S?,” which seemed to be the question of the day. The sixth grader was mingling with the “gangster” boy again!

The girl from the competition immediately starting texting N. She even asked him out. He told her he had a girlfriend and she asked to see a picture. He was going to take a picture of one of the girls on our team and text it to her. I quickly yelled “You cannot email, text or do anything to send a picture of one of our girls to a stranger!” All of the girls were helping him come up with what to say to her. The messages got ugly quick and I had to remind them that they would see this girl and all of her teammates again at the next competition. They then apologized to her for previous messages.

The boy with the ball cap was texting one of our girls. She seemed very irritated and wasn’t as vocal about the messages. I encouraged everyone to stop texting people they don’t really know.

In the meantime, the other male on the team was discussing his life-long plans, including his business plan, with me. I was in shock. This seventh grader was talking about things I didn’t even understand and was giving me advice on my own career. This extremely intelligent kid has already scored a 22 on the ACT. I am sure he will be a future Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

Unfortunately, our conversation kept getting interrupted as I told the other kids their conversations were inappropriate, that they couldn’t send pictures to random strangers or make up rumors about teachers dating. Honestly, these kids were just having fun and completely joking but it’s amazing the things they do without thinking. Once I pointed out why it wasn’t appropriate they seemed to understand and respect that.

I will say this…. You will never catch me on the bus to a tournament again! I’ll drive separate next time and leave the monitoring to the coaches. J

How do you think your kids behave when adult supervision is limited? Do you worry about what they might do with their cell phones or as a group?