Explaining A No

I have fear of public speaking. I do, and a lot more fears that I think just doesn’t make sense. These are things that I hope I wouldn’t pass down to my son.

Most of the time, I would psycho-analyze myself, talking into these emotions. Why am I so mad at my father for no reason? Why do I have too much pride on myself forgetting how to forgive? Why am I so scared of even talking to the bank just to open an account?

When I was little, I remember being afraid of electric fans, and how I never even want to be near one. It’s inexplicable at the time, and even I don’t know why I cringe every time I look at the rotating fan. Then I saw a man on TV stopped one using his tongue and I was caught off guard. I thought why would he do such painful thing. Until one day, at school, everyone had this mini fans running on a single AA battery. I wanted to have one, but I’m so scared to. Then my father bought me one in my favorite color – purple. It was so pretty and I realized that there’s nothing, really to be scared of, only if I know how to be careful around it.

Just this weekend, my son experienced his first cut. He didn’t actually put his finger inside the electric fan on purpose, but he used it as a guide as he walked around. He accidentally shoot a finger inside, and that’s it. He cried and wailed, but after an hour of soothing and giving him toys, he’s at it again, mindlessly doing the same thing. I remembered my fear again. Then I realized, there’s a much better approach to saying no whenever he comes close to a dangerous object. I should not only reject his actions on things that might hurt him, but I should also explain why.

Now that I have a son, I would want to reason out myself better, because I believe that he would also get that, not knowing why he feels certain emotions toward things. So as he grows older learning new stuffs and exploring objects around him, I would go after him and would always be mindful of how I react to his little adventures.

It’s not enough to say no to children nowadays. I realized that if I want my son to grow with good reasoning skills, I should treat him like a regular person and tell him the reason behind every no. “It might hurt you. It might break. It might fall on you.” This way, he’d realize that it’s not that I’m stopping him to have fun, but that I just care for him so much that I don’t want anything to happen to him.

Don’t get me wrong. I grew up in a house where “NO” was the first word they enjoyed me saying, and I liked to believe I grew up just fine. But of course, it’s with this same principle why there are thing in my life that I regret not doing. (college committee presidency, cheerleading, working abroad). And though I already forgave myself for it, I would never want my child to have the same regrets. Growing up with an unexplained no is okay. You don’t have to always say the reason why you don’t feel comfortable doing things. But then, you’ll never know the extent of the opportunities that you’re saying no to if you just explain yourself better. For example, I didn’t take up cheerleading and the committee presidency in college because I was afraid it would take up much of my time. But what if they had offered me a compromise, explained to me that they also understand students’ need of their time to study.

Aside from this, I would want my son to tell me when something’s wrong. I want him to be as open as possible, and not just say no to everything, even trivial ones. I want him to be as vocal as he can be, at least to me, so that at least there would be one person he could trust to say anything. It’s just me wanting to know everything that runs into his mind, but also for him to know the comfort that it brings whenever he says the reason behind his every anxieties.

That, I think, would guide him into choosing the right partner. Then, he wouldn’t settle for someone who would just accept his every no, who would be fine to not hear his reasons. Then, he would look for someone he can confide in, someone who would give him the comfort of listening to his every problems.

Explaining to a child goes a long way! In fact, if I could, I would use the word No as less as possible, giving him only the consequences of each dangerous actions. Then he’d figure it out at an early stage. It’s not that I won’t like to hear No from him, but I want him to realize that because I seldom say that word, when I do, it means it’s serious. And the same thing goes for him. I don’t want him growing up saying No to brocolli, but if he finally said that word on certain things, then I’d know that he’s not just being picky, but he’s uncomfortable, too.

Writing in Buns,

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