Teaching children to say, “NO” is a powerful tool. It reminds me of the power of agreement, like an open window. It is important to know when to open it and when to leave it closed. More to come in post on the idea of what to HOLD onto and what is good to let go of.
Open windows symbolize giving and receiving for me. Look at the picture. Something goes out. Something comes in. This reciprocation is the way of life. Discerning the good of what we receive and the bad of what we reject is the essence of wisdom.
How do we know whether to be open to Auschwitz? Let me be plain.
Prejudice comes from arrogance.
Bullies and abusers can only oppress because they think of themselves as better than those they oppress in some way. Hilter felt he was better than everyone, and he convinced many others to be in agreement with him. Hitler appealed to the arrogance of those who would follow him.
Therefore it is important to talk to our children about our agreements. It is important to take advantage of every opportunity for them to see themselves and others in the light of what is true. If we teach our children they have GREAT WORTH, then they are equipped to face the bullies of life. Upon teaching our children of the value of all people and all living creatures, they are given the weapon of the disagreement.
Who and what to receive or reject is a powerful set of tools in a person’s relational tool belt.
“No, Heir Hitler, I do not think I will arrogantly agree with you about being the ONLY race of worth!”
“No, I won’t bomb these people because I want their lands! I am not better than you, so that would be WRONG!”
“NO! I do not feel comfortable with your touch. DO NOT touch me!”
“NO! I won’t keep your secret because you may get my hamster, or mom, or dog…”
“No. I do not want to go there. ”
“No, I will not help you _____. I will call my mom and dad or a policeman. One of them will help you.”
Isn’t this a wisdom that we all need? Teaching the skill of boundaries early. Let us agree together that it is important to know we can disagree! And we must teach our children that publicly and privately, their “NO” is their’s to own and to use. Politeness can open children to greater danger…
Let us teach our children that if they feel NO, they should not say YES.
“No” does not have to be mean. NO, though a rejection, can be kind.
*Side Note: I did several searches on “Training Children to say, NO, kindly.” Results below
1) Assertiveness Training for Children, by Leah Davies, M.Ed.
I do not like the word assertiveness and I do not agree with all she says. But, you decide. I would have called it, “Teaching Your Kids Wise Communication Skills.”
2) Yes I Can Say NO, by Manuel Smith. Because it is a book I haven’t read this one. So, if you get a copy, please let me know how effective it is.
After doing the search and finding limited resources, I may need to write a pamphlet on this one too.
As always, the links take you to sermon sites or Bible verses that are pertinent.
All the photos are from my trip to Auschwitz. It was a beautiful day. I didn’t know the sun ever shown there. It seemed contrary for the sun to shine at Auschwitz. That is why I took all the photos of open windows. How could the sun shine in such a bleak place? I suppose it shines upon the Palestinian refugee camps of Gaza too. It all just makes no sense to me.
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