Just Say Yes!

“The era of “yes” has begun.”
~Carl Allen, main character in “Yes Man”

“I was saying yes because … the world is full of possibilities, and… you want to take every single one of them.”
~Danny Wallace, author of the book, Yes, Man

All around me lately, I’ve been seeing the word yes. In books, in newspaper articles, in quotes on facebook and even movies. Last week, we rewatched the movie “Yes, Man” with Jim Carey. He plays a bank employee, Carl Allen, who has become withdrawn after a divorce. He says no to everything offered him and has an increasingly negative outlook on his life. Then he goes to a “Yes!” seminar. Reluctantly, Carl agrees stop being a “No Man” and say, “Yes!” to every opportunity that comes his way. Mostly this is a good thing, and he meets his new love and gets the job he’s always wanted.

Chapter 5 of How To Be A Zen Mama‘s is called, “Be A Yes Mom”. Several years ago, I decided to become a “Yes Mom”. Are you more of a “Yes Mom” (you can also insert Dad/Person) or a “No Mom”?

A “No Mom” (Dad/Person) is not unlike Jim Carrey in the beginning of the movie, one that says “No” to anything someone suggests. Yes, I was that person. No would come out of my mouth automatically. A “No Mom” doesn’t take the time to think it over. They just know that they don’t want their child to get wet, cook, make a mess, go out, read an extra story, get dirty. And when asked why, “Because I say so” is a perfectly acceptable answer for a “No Mom”. A “No Mom” (Dad/Person) is the final authority. And they certainly knows what’s best for you. Besides everyone, especially children, need to understand what no means, right?

A “Yes Mom” (Dad/person) is one that stops before saying “No”. A “Yes Mom” is open to possibilities. A Yes Mom wants to hear, “Why do you want to do that” first. “Yes” stops argument because “Yes” means “I’m listening and I find your interests of value.”

The Zen Papa and I try to say “Yes” as much as possible. I must give him total credit for this idea. His thought was that if you say “YES!” to your children’s questions, they are usually satisfied with the answer and an argument is avoided. Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t set limits or that there are no rules or discipline. The kids may want to stay up all night or have ice cream before dinner, which isn’t going to happen except maybe on a special occasion. “Yes” is just another way of answering questions positively. For example:

• “Mom, can we go to a movie?” YES, maybe this Saturday would be good. Instead of, NO we’re too busy today

• “Mom, can we play Go-fish?” YES, after you clean your room. Instead of NO, I’m cleaning the house.

• “Mom, can I have ice cream for breakfast?” YES, on your birthday. Instead of NO, that isn’t healthy for you.

• “Mom, can we stay up really late tonight?” YES, on a night that we have nothing going on the next day. Instead of, NO you have a soccer game tomorrow.

• “Mom, can I make brownies?” YES! Next time I’m at the store I’ll get the brownie mix. Instead of, NO, I don’t have the ingredients.

If you’re a “Yes Mom”, people know that when you do say “No” you have a good reason for it. This is a benefit of saying “Yes”. If you can say “Yes” most of the time, when you have to say “No”, (like when a car is coming) children listen because they know you mean it. Children tune out people who say “No” all the time.

By saying “Yes”, you may be starting your child out on a career or a life long interest. Steven Spielberg’s Dad said, “Yes” when he asked if he could the family’s 8mm camera. While getting a boy scout badge, he recounts, “My dad’s still-camera was broken, so I asked the scoutmaster if I could tell a story with my father’s movie camera. He said yes, and I got an idea to do a Western. I made it and got my merit badge. That was how it all started.” The rest is history.

When you take your ego out, you begin to realize, what’s wrong with eating ice cream at a bad time, what’s wrong with getting a little muddy on a rainy day.

Just saying “Yes” feels good. Try it! “No” makes you feel grumpy inside.

“Yes” is a word of gratitude, of being a Possibilitarian. “Yes” lets you accept opportunities you never dreamed of before.

“Yes” makes things happen and says “I respect your crazy wonderful ideas”. “Yes” helps you to live in the present and move forward to do wonderful things. “Yes” allows you to create an extraordinary life.

Try having a “YES!” day or a “YES!” week. Find a way not to say “No” but to say “YES!” to most everything. Get out of your comfort zone. Let your children (spouses/friends) have their dreams. Say YES and be supportive.

And watch Jim Carey in YES MAN and I recommend reading Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.

“I thank god for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirit of trees and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”
~e.e. cummings

Photo Credit: Gossip Gone Good from Facebook

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5 Responses to Just Say Yes!

  1. I’ll definitely have to watch Jim Carey’s movie, Betsy. You mention great reasons to stay positive in life, and also as we interact with our kids. It really can change the whole atmosphere in the home when parents are positive and looking for ways to give yes responses, instead of no. It does make a difference. Thanks for the great reminder!


  2. Love this, Betsy! Too often, saying “No” becomes a habit, a way of life. Also, we have to remember to say “Yes” to ourselves too!


  3. Ellen Bard says:

    I haven’t watched the film, but I loved the book it was based on (though it definitely took saying yes to extremes!). This sounds like some great parenting advice – but also some great life advice.


  4. What a great idea, Betsy! I sometimes say “no” too quickly. I’m definitely going to think about saying “yes” more!


  5. elle says:

    I remember when my daughter started using this technique with her kids…what a difference it makes. Less tantrums, more laughter.

    Great reminder Betsy.


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