Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Parent’s Favorite Word

This is the ASL sign for NO!

Everyone knows the first word out of a baby’s is usually “Mama” or, if you have a smart child, “Dada.”  My  children said “Mama” first.  Now can you guess what a parent’s favorite word is?  Right, we use “no” a lot when it comes to our children because we want to keep them safe and teach them boundaries. “No” is also a toddler’s favorite word, because they are learning that they can impose boundaries, and they are really excited by this new-found power. My blog today is about rediscovering boundaries and the power of “no” for ourselves.

What do I mean by “boundaries”?  How do we determine if our boundaries are healthy?  Think of yourself as a farm with a fence around your property.  Boundaries determine what you allow past your fence and what you bar.  Boundaries keep the wolves out and the livestock safe.  But sometimes we forget to say “no” and things go crazy. The wolves get in and the cattle scatter. We waste a lot of time and energy putting things back in order.  Each of us has our own boundaries and it’s up to us to make sure we keep our fence maintained. One way to tell if you have healthy boundaries is see how many times you say “no.” I make it a daily activity to remind myself that I have limitations.  Here are some of my recent “no’s”:

  1. No, I will not go to places that are noisy, because it hurts my ears. If I go I will use ear protection.
  2. No, I will not drink coffee because it keeps me up late at night and it makes my tinnitus worse.
  3. No, I will not buy into the cult of “busy.” I will always make time to be still and reflect - enjoy the World of Silence.
  4. No, I am not disabled because I am deaf or hard of hearing.  I just “hear “with other senses (taste, sight, touch).
  5. No, I won’t go it alone. When I am stuck in a situation where I need help I will ask for it.

These are just a few examples.  What would you add to this boundary list for yourself?

I highly recommend a book called Boundaries, by Henry Cloud.
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