Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I get to say "No"

Getting to "No".

Do you remember the old book "Getting to Yes"? It was about the psychology of getting people to say yes to whatever you wanted them to do. I was first exposed to it in a Business Psych class at the Baptist college (who'da thunk?).

I get to say no. A lot. More than I would like to. It is a luxury afforded the few: Getting to say NO.

I say No to my cats, my son (he would say constantly, that isn't accurate) sometimes to my husband and many, many times to other people. Saying no to whatever it is a learned trait. Most people will never use the word NO. My son still knows that if I say, "I don't think so" that means No too. We started saying No, but also pointing out that we hadn't ever used a special ed excuse (horrors!!!) but decided that certain things were too much and we had to say No to keep our sanity.

Saying No, is a luxury item.

Most Special ed family's won't say it; using the word No is seen as a negative thing. I don't think I agree. We all have to learn to accept the No's in life. All of them, even the ones where we KNOW it should be a yes (like a job I KNOW would have worked great for me) and it is still a No. Our kids, any special ed kid, has to be able to accept NO gracefully. No tantrums or meltdowns. Just an OK , thanks and walk away.

Getting to No. not taking on too much, just enough to be comfortable and reasonably happy.

Saying to the boy that No is supposed to be a good thing at certain times. There are times when No affords one new opportunites for growth, either mentally or spiritually. When we get to say NO it is because we are going to learn, try and grow in a different way. That sounds hokey. But it does mean that there are things that we don't do, or don't HAVE to do. Kind of like going up North and not going out for burgers on Monday. If we don't like the proprietor much we don't go. We go elsewhere and make up our own traditions while on vacation. One way of saying no.

"These things have to be handled delicately," -Margaret Hamilton in the Wizard of OZ. She was right, although we aren't going after little Dorothy we are doing things in a way that are comfortable to us. That's right, to us....not perfect, not right, and not acceptable in other homes. But good in our home, with the 3 rotten kitties and the boy who is still learning hygiene (getting better at that one TG) and the lack of sweeping that happens and the stupid eco washer that ruined my favorite heather grey sweater. Getting to NO. Getting to say NO I can't find a new heather grey sweater (Rats) and NO I can't afford go buy one. Teaching the cats NOT to jump at the vintage Christmas tree- it is all about saying NO.

Telling our son that IF he gives away his class ring when he picks it up tomorrow he will be GROUNDED for life....and possibly beyond. Getting to No: how do we get a kid who has NO CONCEPT of money to not break us to the bank and say NO to what he wants for himself to learn to budget and OMG we don't need it , want it or can use it so let it stay at the store, garage sale or the booth at the craft fair. Being generous, but not stupid....and learning to say NO delicately when required. Getting to NO.....

It sounds better and better doesn't it? I am rather likting the entire concept. We teach the kids NO now, and then later the employers don't have to relearn how to handle employees who have never not gotten a prize for a mediocre job and can't handle critism worth a darn. I am thinking this is why some of my son's teachers think we are off the bend. We say NO. We are not mean, but we are saying NO to classes with minimal expectations, No to garbage reading materials, and NO to things that are just not right.

I wonder if the special ed world would explode if people said to their kids, "NO you can't go to the store and spin with a bag on your head." "No you can't run and bump into people, it is rude." For little kids, "No you can't have the new toy; if you can't behave then you have to sit in a shopping cart until we are ready to leave."
Saying NO; being strong enough to say NO. We still love our son and we say NO to a lot of stuff. Maybe other families need to say NO too. It might help, and like Temple Grandin once mentioned, these kids have no manners, are out of control and need to learn limitations. We aren't doing them any favors by not saying NO.

Think about it. Saying NO is hard work, but in the long run it is worth it. Try it....say NO to one thing. See what happens. It might be a fun social experiement that totally doesn't work, but then again, it could free you from a lot of stress, pressure and other things that are weighing you down....and you special ed families KNOW what I am talking about.