Adventures in Art, Motherhood and Inspirations

[16] The value of “NO”

A mother was managing a group of kids outside the conference room. She told them ‘Don’t make any noise. No shouting. No laughing’. Her son showed all his teeth and imitated laughing. She then said, ‘You can laugh, but no shouting’. He immediately opened his mouth and said ‘Ahh’. And then she said, ‘Please keep quite, can you?’. They all said yes and stayed quite, even though only for a while. Atleast they obeyed.

Many people don’t understand why I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to Pappu. There are certain things children don’t obey anyway. I just avoid saying ‘no’ in those cases just to save up the value for the word for more appropriate instances and also to teach him that mommy doesn’t deny everything he does.

He runs away from me and I say ‘Baby, please stay close to mommy and be safe’ rather than ‘Don’t run away from me’. He touches the electrical socket and I tell him ‘It’s an electric socket. Only adults touch it when needed’ rather than ‘Don’t touch it.’ He rings the alarm bell in the lift and I tell him, ‘It’s an alarm bell. You use it only when in emergency’ rather than ‘No touching’ or ‘Police will come and get you if you rang the bell’.

It makes more sense to me considering that ‘no’ or ‘don’t’ get opposite results most of the time!

One day I came across a mother with a kid crying in the pram. The mother kept repeating ‘no crying’ to the kid while the child kept crying. What does this teach the child? Is she going to stop crying just because mom had issued a ‘no’? Will she have any value to the word and understand that when there is a ‘no’, she really ain’t going to do it?

One might argue that at the height of anger, it’s not possible to keep track of your words. But it’s also important that by carefully changing the words we speak, we get less angry. It changes the whole outlook we have on life. It’s nothing but changing the order of words in the sentence to deliver the same meaning but in a more positive way.

I used to argue that I’m very positive and that I just don’t believe in this whole ‘spoken words’ thing. But merely changing some of my words taught me how much I was missing even though I had a positive attitude. I just had to remember to say a positive self talk whenever I got angry. The way I handled anger was different.



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