Lessons Learned At the Track

Another track night, more kite flying, came home with one less kite than we left with.

I read an article recently about being a yes mom written by one of the Pearls of http://nogreaterjoy.org/.  The article was about being a yes parent, the kind of parent who says yes whenever they can, no matter how much trouble that yes is going to cost them.

Don’t get me wrong, the Pearls are about as far away from suggesting permissiveness as the east is from the west.  But it’s that idea of coming along side your children and supporting them in all of their endeavors, making sure they know you’re on their team, that you believe in them and are equipping them to push the limits of their abilities.

So I was thinking of that tonight as I was flying one of our new kites at the track.  It was a beauty, a rainbow dragon with a spiral tail that spinned as it flew.  Noah wanted a turn, and I thought, Why not?  I’ll keep an eye on him.  So he took the reins for a while and loved it.  Next Bella wanted a turn, so I passed it on to her and watched her closely as she yanked and tugged on the string.  I fought the urge to say no.  I find saying no tends to keep things simple, under control.  Next, of course, Seth wanted a turn.  Stop being such a ninny, I told myself.  If I said no, I’d be denying him of an opportunity to do something new, something exciting.  I thought surely he’s too young to hold onto the string.  But then I thought of all the times I’ve said no to my children, thinking “This is surely not a good idea.”  And then I’ve watched all the fun and experience the children have had when Daddy says yes.  And when Daddy says yes, it seems to rarely end in disaster.  So I said yes.  I gave Seth the string.  And you know what?  He held it for a minute and then he let it go.

Thump, thump, thump, as the brisk breeze carried the spool of string across the football field, over the fence, onto the electric wires overhead.  It was a goner, I was sure of it.

That’s when I remembered a phrase Sally Clarkson (http://www.wholeheart.org/) uses:  “Sometimes you have to say no to a lot of good little things in order to say YES to the best thing.”  As good as it was that Seth had this new experience, it would have been better to say no to him and have been able to keep the kite for the rest of the family (all 8 of the rest of us) to use.

And it also reminded me that no is not always the wrong answer.  Sometimes no is the right answer.   So I contemplated that for a while and thanked my Heavenly Father for once again using an experience with the children to teach me something.

I tried to rescue the kite which was stuck in a tree at this point, but alas, no luck, and the whole hanging over a power line thing scared me a little.  (Okay, a lot.)  I gave up, and informed my dear husband who was at the other end of the football field that our kite was no more.

My husband is a bit more spirited than I am.  You know the rest of the story.  He scaled the fence and used that logic of his to figure out how to get the wind to work in his favor, and he saved the kite.

I’ve been face to face with my own negativity lately, and I saw this as an opportunity to let my husband know what I really think of him.  So I greeted him (and the kite which he had back in the sky by now) with, “My hero, you saved the day.”  (Kids pay attention to stuff like this, you know.)  Big hug, he gave me the kite back, more fun with the kids.

Eden watched all of this, and as Andrew went one direction and Eden and I went the other, she said, “Daddy really is a hero, isn’t he?”

“Yes, Eden.  Daddy really is a hero.”

Do you know that when children reach their teenage years, if they believe that their father is an honorable man, a hero, they will care more about what he thinks than what the boys at school think?  Do you know that the number one indicator of how children will view their father is how their mother views their father?  And vice versa, of course.

Part 2 of the saga goes like this:  Now the Middles wanted a turn flying the cool kite.  So I let them one by one take a turn, Leah, Andres and Eden.

A little background – Eden is the youngest of the middles – at age 7, she is still mischievous and childish at times (which is age-appropriate, of course).  She is the child who is most likely to push the boundaries, do something foolish, take things a bit too far.  But I often give her the same privileges as the other middles because she gets her feelings hurt and complains so much if I don’t.  (Yes, I know I’m a sucker.)

I let her fly the kite.  I reminded her to hold on tight.  She flew it for a few minutes.  I looked away.  I looked back as she was asking me to look at her and how she could hold the string spool with her feet.  Yes, you guessed it, as I was just telling her that was not a good idea, the string got away from her and bounded across the field again.  This time it got stuck in the trees and there was no getting it down.

I thought, “Lord, I heard you the first time.  I got the message.”

But I think the Lord wanted me to get that I really need to ponder this notion again, “Sometimes you have to say no to the good little things in order to say yes to the best thing.”

And then I realized that’s an important message, but not the only one He had for me.  Just as I need to apply this in my life, I also need to understand that God too sometimes says no to the things that we just know are good things in order to say yes to the best thing.  The things that I want so badly that I just know I’m entitled to, perhaps the no’s to those things are laying the groundwork for the yeses that are coming for the better things.

Just a thought.

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