Over this past week my kids were on Spring Break and I took a week off from work to be with them. I have taken vacation time with my wife and kids before, but this time was different. This time I did not wake up on the first morning back to work and school saying “Please God may the bus get here soon!” What changed?
I believe that some of it had to do with the fact that Easter was the kickoff for the week. The message of Jesus resurrection did help set the tone. Certainly, that played a part of it, but I have been taking the week after Easter off for years and this time was different.
As I look back at the beginning of the vacation the thing that I believe helped was the conviction that I needed to add the word “yes” to my vocabulary when my kids asked for my attention. When I am in a work week there are times where I must say “no” to their request for my attention, because that is what is appropriate and necessary. However, I took vacation away from work so I should not have any excuses or hindrances to my being able to say “yes.” With this in mind I told my wife at the start of the week, “I am going to make it a point to say ‘yes’ more often to the kids this week and I would ask that you keep me accountable.” She agreed and within seconds of that conversation ending my son walked in the room and asked; “Daddy, do you want to play football with me?” I looked at my wife hoping that she would not hold me accountable right at that moment, but I knew in my heart that there was only one response that needed to be said; “Yes, son I will play football with you.” With each child during our vacation I made my response “yes” as often as was appropriate. “Daddy, can I help with that?” “Daddy, can I show you my dance I made up?” “Daddy,can you help me?” “Daddy, can I go with you to the store?”
I have to say that after consciously pushing myself to say yes to my children, and I will add that it began to flow into how I responded to my wife as well, that I liked the result. I felt more connected with my family. I felt like I was not always the Dad who says “no” all the time to every request. I made the decision to end the reign of “no” in my parental vocabulary. I am excited to see how I can use this approach now that vacation has ended. Certainly, there are times where it must be “no” due to work and responsibilities. However, I am looking for more opportunities to give my intentional “yes.”