Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just Say NO!

Just say No! ... to drugs, to alcohol, to cheating, to lying, to living above your means, to judging others, to wasting resources... these are the messages we hear constantly via family, friends, media.
But there are other things some of us should say NO! to. Things we are ashamed to talk about. Things that we are afraid will make us look bad in other's eyes.
I am one of those people who should say NO! a lot more often than I do. And not to bad things...
I am ashamed to say that I should say NO! to requests from the PTA, Sports Teams, DeMolay, Rainbow, family, friends... I should, but I don't.
I teach my children that to Give of One's Self is the reason we are put on this earth. To help others when we are able, to think about the other person, or the greater good, before ourselves is how God wants us to live our lives. That if you say you will do something then come hell or high water you do it. Your word is your bond. Your Integrity is the best measure of the person you truly are. If you cannot be trusted in small things then you will never be trusted in large ones.
These are the simple truths that I base my life, and how I live it, on.
Now I have come to a place in my life where saying NO! is required more often than I want to admit, not because I am lazy or getting old or even uncaring. No, it is worse than that, for me at least. I am tired. I am literally tired of doing, going, planning, making, building, organizing, calling, begging- for the schools, the sports organizations, the youth groups, family, friends, and work. I have cut and pasted. Made phone call after phone call. Planned event after event. Often used my own money with a small hope that I would be re-paid, and more often not.
I want to say No! really, I do! But then I get a call from my Mother-In-Law. Would I go to chemo with a family friend- just to make sure he is okay on his own? Of course I can. Oh crap- I was supposed to say NO! to that wasn't I? But what if that were my loved one- husband, child, mother, father, sister, brother... alone in a world of medical terms and unknown outcomes? Wouldn't I want someone there to be with them? Isn't that what I teach my children we should do? I lead through example. My children see me volunteering, helping, giving of myself- even when I have nothing left to give. But to do otherwise would make me one of those "Do as I say, not as I do" people. That I could not abide.
And if I had said No! to sitting with a family friend while he recieved his chemo treatment I would have missed out on a wonderful, lively and intelligent conversation. I truly enjoyed talking with him about common interests, life lessons and lives we lived in the past. I gained more from him than I could have possibly given.
And that is why I continue to say YES! to so many requests for my time, energy and resources. What I gain is so often more than I can possibly give, the lessons learned, the people met, the time well spent is almost always worth any sacrifice I had to make to keep my word.
Almost.
Just Say NO!--- yes, I do say no more than I used to. I am easing into it. It is hard to change the way you have lived your life for 40-something years all at once. I think that by the time I am old and gray- okay more so than I already am- I will have this NO! thing down.
Until then, I will continue to make small strides toward that end. I will still say YES! more than I should- for my own health and welfare- but I still have children that are learning how to be good people and the only way I know to do this is by DOING what I tell them they should do.
So... please, only ask me for help if you REALLY need it... you know that I cannot
Just Say NO!... not yet anyway!
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