What Works

Remembering Yes

This week my kids have turned into prolific letter writers. My daughter, who loves inventive spelling, grabs a piece of paper and gets busy writing out what she wants to share with her grandmother. My son, who hates inventive spelling, asks me to take dictation so that he can copy the words himself in turn. When they’ve finished writing, they ask for an envelope, then a stamp. Then they want to walk to the mailbox, where we have the inevitable kerfuffle over who gets to raise the red flag.


© Jon Helgason


There are about four times in this process when I have to hush my inner NO. The request for me to take dictation inevitably occurs when I’m making a meal or doing the dishes. I want to say NO when they ask to use an envelope (the box is almost empty!) and again when they insist on using a stamp even though they’ll see their granny twice this week. Then I force down a crotchety NO when they ask to walk to the mailbox. It’s hot enough to fry an egg in Tennessee right now, y’all.

But… really? The dishes will still be there in a few minutes. Stamps are kind of a pain to buy, and they certainly are more expensive than they used to be, but that’s not the biggest deal. And walking to the mailbox in midday August heat probably isn’t going to kill me.

I’m thankful for the message that found me at a homeschool convention a few years ago, delivered in a workshop by Kathy Lee and Lesli Richards of The Homegrown Preschooler. The message…


I wish you could hear them deliver their message in person, too, but for now this excerpt from a post on their blog will have to do.

People hear “no” at every turn. What would happen if your little one grew up hearing things like, “Yes, you may see what happens when you add water. Yes, we can take a walk today. Yes, we can stop and see the chickens.”

In my late 30’s I’ve gotten good at saying NO. I freely turn down invitations to events that would drain my energy and at which my presence would go unnoticed, I decline requests to fill volunteer positions that I know aren’t right for me, and, without apology, I distance myself from people who aren’t a force for good in my life.

I’ve built a life around my life’s greatest YES, my children. If you’re a homeschooler, I bet you share that sentiment. We are here, making either great sacrifices of time or money (and probably both), to walk alongside our children in every facet of their lives.

My babies are my YES. Nurturing the blossoming of their writing lives is my YES. Not the dishes. Not a sparkly toilet. Not my Facebook feed.


One thought on “Remembering Yes

  1. I love this, Maggie! I stumbled upon it this morning. I had a “the dishes can wait” moment just last night. My girls needed me to play Barbies, and playing with my kids should always win!

    I was also proud of myself for saying yes to raising crickets…and I’m a little spooked by crickets!


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