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I found a quote in Time magazine just now. A woman in France (no relation
to Holly's being in France, but as connections go, I just made another one
<g>)... A WOMAN IN FRANCE who's directing a program of education about obesity
for children France was quoted in Newsweek, and what she said inspired me to
go and polish up my "YES" pages a bit. The first page links to the
Joyce-on-"Yes" page, and a few other writers are on there too.

If anyone has stories to contribute to my quilt if "YES" words, send 'em on!
(Or just write them here and I'll life some good bits.)

The woman in France said "The trick is never to tell the children no."

_http://sandradodd.com/yes_ (http://sandradodd.com/yes)

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Julie Bogart

> The woman in France said "The trick is never to tell the children no."
> _http://sandradodd.com/yes_ (http://sandradodd.com/yes)

I loved this page! Pam's comments about the fact that there are kids
who seem spoiled by parents who always say yes made me think.

Don't you figure that the difference between this kind of yes (the
mindful parenting kind) and the yes that is offered by parents of
spoiled (hate that word) children is that the first one is offered
freely. It is a part of a view of children that parents are partners
in creating a fulfilling, safe, rewarding life with and for their kids.

The other kind of yes is often capitulation to a demanding child - a
child who is not feeling heard or attended to, whose behavior is
increasingly disruptive and so the parent says "yes" to stop the
disruptive behavior, not to add joy to the child's life.

That child is perceived as spoiled when in reality, the "spoiled"
child may actually be needy and attention deprived.


Robyn Coburn

<<<<If anyone has stories to contribute to my quilt if "YES" words, send 'em
on! (Or just write them here and I'll life some good bits.)>>>>

Something that comes up a lot on A/U list is the concept of safety, or the
idea of saying "no" when something is unsafe. I wrote this fairly recently.

<<<<One of the processes that I have noticed in our life, and also in the
postings of others, is that the definition of "safe" has definitely moved
towards the liberal. I find I have to re-examine every time what is safe.
There are times when people visiting our home get agitated because Jayn is
climbing on furniture in way that makes them concerned. I have to reassure
them that she is very balanced and confident. (Jayn's maternal grandfather
was a tightrope walker in a circus - I think she is showing signs of
inheriting his abilities - skipping a generation)

There are ways that I change my response to "unsafe" mental alarm bells,
rather than making the default position "Jayn must stop or change her

I reorder the environment, putting pillows, moving breakables etc.

I re-examine the environment and action, rather than acting on a knee jerk
reaction. The example that comes to mind is "running around the pool". Our
pool surround is very old concrete, so pitted that it just does not become
slippery. In addition experience reminds me that Jayn is cautious and has
never fallen while running in the wet. When we visit another pool, I do a
check to test the slipperiness of the area, and share my findings with Jayn.

I ask myself what I would be depriving Jayn of by making an arbitrary (or
my-comfort-based) decision on her behalf. It becomes risk assessment. How
much would she realistically be hurt by falling onto her butt, versus the
emotional hurt and stress on our relationship by me not trusting her or
diminishing her self-confidence.

I show Jayn the safe way of accomplishing the action - like holding a plug
by the plastic and not touching the metal prongs.>>>>

I seems to me it is about saying "yes" through my actions, as well as my

Robyn L. Coburn

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The risk assessment point is good.

I remember one day vividly when Kirby was one. Probably 16 or 17 months
old, and walking well. We were at an SCA tournament near Colorado Springs,
and he was little enough to be picking other people's stuff up without asking
(he wasn't big enough to ask or know "other people's stuff"). He walked up
holding a steel and leather gauntlet. I asked him where he got it, but asked
him nicely in the same kind of interested way I would've if it was a cool
rock or a flower rather than stolen armor. <g> He very happily led me to the
place. I apologized to the guy (who hadn't yet noticed it missing) and asked
if maybe he had anything that wasn't his. There was something there, a roll
of duct tape or something. So I thanked him and picked that up and went to
the next interesting pile of stuff and asked if it was theirs. It was. Did
they have something that wasn't theirs? They did.

So Kirby had cross-pollinated a whole row of stuff in wandering among people
who knew who he was and knew and his dad and I were within eyesight.

Nobody told him he was a bad boy. Everyone got their stuff back. He got to
look at and touch some cool things, and that was fine.

At one point that afternoon he fell down and cried. He had tripped on a
string that was set up six or eight eight inches off the ground betwen stakes
(sagging between stakes) to show people how close was too close to put tents
and piles of armor. The adults were walking over it easily and had seen those
little barriers before. Kirby tripped and fell. After I made sure he was
okay and dusted him off, I took him back over and showed him the string and
helped him practice stepping over it, and pointed out how the string went all
the way around those places, and where the other people were walking where
there wasn't string. "That's all," I remember telling him. It was only a
string. Not danger, not malice, not his failure to walk. A guy from Santa Fe I
knew, thirtiesh, nice guy, was watching us and listening. He came over and
said with tears in his eyes that I was a really good mom and he wouldn't have
thought to explain to someone that age what had happened. Then he told me
something he had never told me or any of us in that group as far as I know. He
had a daughter, somewhere, 14 years old. He had gotten his girlfriend
pregnant when they were sixteen or so, and the girl didn't want him to stick
around and be the father. So he said he always watched parents and thought about
what he would do, how he might have been, as a father. He had spent years
being ashamed and sad.

Years passed. He married and has children (I haven't met them, they're in
another state). I feel good about that, and he's probably a better dad than
he would've been if he hadn't hung around with us for a few years.

And because of his story about having a daughter he didn't know and had
never parented, I was able to calmly and truthfully tell my boys that one reason
they need to be extremely careful about unintended pregancy is that if they
get a girl pregnant, it's not their call whether she has the baby or not, and
it's not their call whether they get to be the daddies or not. They WOULD be
a father, and regardless of their desires or intentions, they might end up
being absent or bad fathers, because the baby was the mother's baby to decide

It's another risk assessment situation. Yes, teenagers sometimes have sex,
but do it safely.
Yes, there are places more dangerous to walk than others, so do it safely.
Yes, you have something that doesn't belong to you, yes it's okay to pick
things up, and yes, let's go take it back.


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In a message dated 5/29/2005 3:49:09 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
SandraDodd@... writes:

He had spent years
being ashamed and sad.

My bio father just died, on May 15. I met him (again) the year I turned 30.
I had no idea about him. I had often dreamed as child (in a very abusive
home) that there was this man who was always on his way to "save" me from this
torment. I thought all little girls had those dreams.

My father knew all about me, everything. My mom and her new husband (from
when I was 3) told my dad for years that I knew all about him and hated him,
they also told him I was adopted because he hadn't tried hard enough to find
me when they married and moved away. He believed them.

He lived with guilt for many many years. His life was very much filled with
the thoughts of the promise he whispered into a little girls ears so many
years ago.

I had no spoken with in over five years. His choice. We never really
developed much of a relationship other than some kind of unspoken, unwavering
emotional bond. That was enough. The guilt I saw in his eyes was painful. He
only had words for me about sorry and wishes and could haves and should haves.
Despite my repeated insistence that all of that was in the past and the
blame was neither his or mine to have.

He got a diagnoses, he was dying. Cancer, stage four. Best case scenario,
1-3 years, worst case scenario, 6 months, most likely somewhere in between.

He's in MI, I'm in VA. Don't come he said. He said other words that said
"come please". So I went, the very next flight. I thought we had at least
weeks, possibly months to mend what someone else stole from us so for so many

For the first two days I was there, if he spoke to me, he looked out the
window. My DH, he could look easily in the eye for conversation, but not me. I
dreaded this whole, I'm so unworthy and so full of guilt thing we'd been
dancing around for years.

He rapidly declined in health. Day one to day five, I could barely believe
he was sick at all, except for the surgical scar he carried and the doctors
own words, and my own eyes looking at the pathology reports.

This time this man was going to say YES to me, he would say what was in his
heart and I would not be easily swayed by diverted eyes or his guilt filled

I lovingly cared for him. I talked to doctors and interpreted for him. I
made sure things were done on schedule (he hates and so do I to not know in
advance tests are to be done and procedures scheduled) as on schedule as things
can be in a hospital. He resisted. I continued, I wasn't hateful or mean,
but I was firm in that this man would have no doubt that I loved him, in
spite of how horrible he felt he had been as a father to me.

Day three we talked eye to eye. Finally, he just said he was so damn mad
about all of this and had been his whole life. He wanted to know why I wasn't
mad and why I didn't hate him. Why? Why be mad, life is what it is, we
change it or we don't. Make it what we want it to be TODAY and stop worrying and
feeling guilty about what we did or didn't do yesterday or last week or last
year or ten years ago.

TODAY you can make your child's life better, but worrying about what it will
be tomorrow or what it was last week won't help it at all. Sometimes it
helps to be stubborn and to know exactly where you want to go. I wanted my dad
to feel the love I have for him and to know beyond a doubt that he should not
and could not carry that guilt with him, that it wasn't his to carry.

Just like as parents we cannot be bogged down because we sent our child to
school for one day or ten thousand days. We need to be determined that TODAY
counts, it's important and we CAN make it matter. We have to drop the guilt
and find the joy in just BEING with that child. Life happens, learning
happens, joy happens, children do grow up, parents do die, sometimes much sooner
than anyone thinks.

My day was barely 61. Within eight days he went from a guilt ridden man
with no joy in his life to a man who died peacefully and knowing he was loved
and forgiven by himself.

Let it go, forget about what happened yesterday or last year, TODAY can be
more joyful.

I had only a few days of pure joy with my dad, but you can bet I won't ever
forget them and those days are worth more to me than a thousand days filled
with guilt and not moving forward.

Unschooling isn't life or death in the same sense, but days matter, hours
matter, children remember.

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In a message dated 5/30/2005 9:06:31 PM Eastern Standard Time,
rubyprincesstsg@... writes:
Unschooling isn't life or death in the same sense, but days matter, hours
matter, children remember.

I don't know who wrote this because it wasn't signed, but Wow- what a
beautiful, powerful story. I'd love to shorten the last sentence into something for
a T-shirt, or bumper sticker. "Days matter, hours matter, children remember."
I'd put it next to my other favorite family saying, "School schmool!!"

Kirsten (4/73)- mom to 3 sons: Skyler (5/96), Aric (5/97), and Sawyer (3/99),
wife to Carl (5/72)

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