I remember hearing some parenting advice that advised that when you can, say "yes" to your kids. In the early days of parenting, it feels like the word "NO" comes out of our mouths with such frequency! As my children have got bigger and more independent, I have tried to be more mindful of saying "YES" when I can.
Yesterday I was doing my track workout and I brought my kids along with me. They were trying to keep themselves occupied with their skates and bike. One found an old ruddy baseball that was instantly a "treasure." Another found a Duke water bottle (Me: Leave that there--go Heels!). Eventually they got tired of their activities and came up with a new idea.
"Mom, can we roll this tire down the stairs?" At first my reflex was to say, "NO." I started to say it. But then I asked myself, "Why not?" There were no other people on the track that we had to worry about injuring. I still had quite a few more laps to do. So I said "YES!" And they had so much fun rolling that tire down the stairs for the next 20 minutes or so.
I think this is also a principle we can apply to ourselves. When faced with an opportunity or a request, I try to ask myself if I can say "YES" first. Of course I must balance my desire to say "YES" with setting good boundaries for my time. But I have had so many memorable experiences from saying "YES" when invited. A half Ironman relay. A 206 mile relay through the Blue Ridge Mountains with 5 other brave souls. Getting set up on a date with my now- husband. Going to country concerts with my sweet babysitter.
"To my young friends out there: Life can be great, but not when you can't see it. So, open your eyes to life: to see it in the vivid colors that God gave us as a precious gift to His children, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to make it count. Say yes to your life."--Nancy Reagan