Building a Yes Home Prepares Your Children to Say Yes to God
When our girls were little, evenings in the Wilson home usually went like this: We’d eat dinner, play a game, watch our favorite shows, then hit the sack. But one night Jennifer, then 6, posed a wacky idea: “Why can’t we eat dinner on the living room floor?”
Rodney and I looked at each other and responded with two life-changing words: “Why not?”
Jennifer’s imaginative question jump-started our yes home. On family nights our living room transformed into exciting destinations. From pizza in the jungle to roasting marshmallows with toothpicks over a candle, family night became the perfect place for Jennifer and Natalie to be kids. In addition, family night also allowed Rodney and me to teach our girls some of life’s greatest lessons.
Have you noticed that your kids are full of questions? “Daddy, why does a bug crawl?” “Mom, can we touch the stars?” Creating a yes home early on builds an environment for the more challenging questions you want your children to ask as they move through life.
Sure, children need direction and discipline. Along with boundaries, however, children crave a place to exercise physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. A yes home, with clearly established boundaries, gives them room to stretch, run, and grow with you close by.
The Biblical Models of Yes
God’s Word is the best source for creating a yes home. We serve a yes God who longs to teach us through His Word. When we study the Bible and follow its wisdom, we align our yeses with God’s. Every yes in your home can be filtered through the principles of God’s Word.
Ultimately, a yes home is important because you want your child to know the God of yes through His Son, Jesus Christ:
“Yes, I will forgive you” (Eph. 1:7, 1 John 1:9).
“Yes, you can ask Me for wisdom” (Jas. 1:5).
“Yes, you can do all things through Me” (Phil. 4:13).
“Yes, you can have a full and meaningful life” (John 10:10).
Building a yes home prepares your children to say yes to God.
Payoffs of a Yes Culture
By saying yes to your children when you can, you value their creativity, raise their confidence, and encourage them to explore the passions God has placed in them for the plans He has for their lives.
The 3-year-old who gets to put her plastic building blocks in the bathtub “because she thought of it” has been encouraged to think outside the (toy) box. With such encouragement, her confidence in her own creativity will grow. Over the years this confidence will begin to unleash the abilities and passions that God has placed in her. When she’s ready to embrace her own faith in Christ, she’ll be prepared to unleash these gifts to impact the world for Him.
In a yes home, a child’s voice is not only heard, it’s expected. Your children feel valued and respected when you take time to listen to them. The yes mind-set says to your children, “Your ideas are important to us! Share your suggestions and your viewpoint with our family. When we can, we’re going to say yes to your ideas. But regardless, your voice is needed and welcomed.”
Yes Is a Decision
For lots of parents, no is the natural default mode. It’s simply easier. Replacing a natural no default mode with a yes mode must be intentional – and it starts before a question is asked. As a godly parent, predetermine that you will at least consider your kids’ ideas and not immediately write them off as childish and immature. Even when the answer needs to be no, your children can feel valued that their ideas were respectfully considered.
Granted, part of a yes home means sometimes saying no. Occasional noes create security. Our Heavenly Father understands this perfectly. After all, it was His idea. God gave us Ten Commandments in the context of hundreds of yes-driven promises. He gave Adam one no tree in the garden compared to numerous yes trees. Both the promises and the boundaries were crystal clear.
Just like yeses, your noes aren’t randomly applied in “because I said so” style. Instead, godly noes resonate from God’s Word. When you have to say no to your child, make it a teachable moment (possibly after a cooling-off period). Use Scripture and prayer to back your decisions.
A few firm Nos in the Wilson family were:
“No, you do not get a pass on helping out around the house. Every member of the family has daily responsibilities.”
“No, you can’t play at your friend’s house unless I meet the parents.”
“No, you can’t stay up late and sleep through church on Sunday.”
When your children need to hear no, you can explain why the no exists and why God loves us enough to make certain things off-limits. If your kids learn to respect no in a yes-saturated home, they’ll grow to honor God’s noes in His yes-filled Word.
Each yes and each no in your parenting adventure gives you an opportunity to teach your children about God and His work in the world and in the lives of your family members. Throughout each phase of parenting, you’ll have many opportunities to respond to your children’s requests. Remember that each yes and each no prepares your children for life with God. Ask Him to give you the wisdom to choose wisely.