Yes and No?

Can you answer the following question in the affirmative?  Is your yes always yes and your no always no? 

If we are really honest, most of us can’t answer this question in the affirmative.  There is always a maybe, there is always an extenuating circumstance, and there is always that special situation that may never come again.

We have become an “it depends” people.  We have become so in tune to political correctness and tolerance that we have missed some of the most important aspects of basic human existence.  One of which is the correct use of yes and no. 

I once heard Rick Godwin speak on this subject.  Rick is the pastor of Eagles Nest, a large church in
San Antonio, Texas.  In his sermon, Rick took this statement to the point of saying; “The correct use of yes and no is vital to successful human living”.  He went on to explain that in Christian living we are solely responsible for our life.  Every decision we make is made as a free agent and holds consequences appropriate for that decision..

When Jesus was on this earth, he knew the power of yes and no.  In Matthew 5:37 He states; let your Yes be simply Yes, and your No be simply No; anything more than that comes from the evil one”.   Yes and No are extremely important to every aspect of our lives.

Since I am talking about fathers here, I will narrow in on how yes and no affect our children.

No is undoubtedly the most important boundary setting word in any language.  The word No establishes boundaries for our children and our children hate boundaries.  All children need clear boundaries to keep them alive.  Without boundaries, we would be a completely lawless society.  We would kill and eat our young, instead of buying them miniature electric Hummers and allowing them to drive up and down our neighborhood streets.  We would take what we wanted, instead of working to earn enough money to buy what we want.

Without the word No in our children’s lives they would soon feel the full effect of Galatians 6:7; “Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside).  [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For whatever a man sows that and that only is what he will reap”. 

We as parents are not immune to this law.  Like our children, we to will reap the sowing of bad seed into our children.  Our prisons are full of people who didn’t have a strong father or were mistreated by their father.  I don’t want to try and scare you because most fathers want to do the right thing.  It is obvious you are one of those fathers otherwise you would not be here reading this, but you must realize that you have an obligation to set healthy boundaries for your children.

Most consequences in our lives are the result of bad choices.  We all have made them and we all have reaped the consequences.  Our children will also make bad choices.  When they do, resist the urge to step in and fix the problem for them.  Good fatherly advice and counsel are always good.  As I have said often, one of the key roles of a father is to be a good teacher.  Just don’t step in and fix the problem.  Parents get into trouble when they take responsibility for their children’s choices.

One of the best fathers I have ever seen was presented with the issue of his child having committed a crime.  His choice was to step in and help the child cover up the crime or to turn his child in to the authorities.  He chose the latter.  The ultimate consequences of choosing the cover up would have been that he and his child would both have been wearing black stripes.

The power of Yes in a child’s life is immeasurable.  Yes is a reinforcing word, and as such supports a child’s right choices and behaviors.  Everything we do in life we should do as if we were doing it for God.  A child will take the positive power of Yes into their adult life and will apply the lessons learned in every aspect of daily living.  They will work strong, speak positively, and devote themselves to their spouse and their children in unswerving commitment.

These traits they will have learned, in no small part, to watching and listening, to their fathers and mothers.  They will model your behavior and your speech.  If your common practice is to vacillate when a clear yes or no is necessary, they will see that life is not secure and they will learn to find the easy way out.  They will soon loose respect for you as their father and will turn to others who may seem to present a more secure or sure outlook on life.  Often these are not people who support your values or beliefs.

Fathers, think about the decisions you have made recently.  Can you answer the question cited at the beginning of this article?  If you can, is it in the affirmative?  If not, seek to understand why.  Seek out a balanced father to bounce your questions off.  Feel free to contact me and we can discuss your issues or questions and seek to strategically approach the issues of child rearing.  We just can’t do this alone.  We are not all knowing, we are human and as such, we need others who are like minded to help us along the way.

En servicio como padre



1 Response to “Yes and No?”

  1. 1 Charles Arcario May 7, 2007 at 3:05 PM


    Matthew 5:37 is one of my favorites. It sometimes feels as though, with parenting, there should be a Matthew 5:37 1/2.

    It should read: Parents, let your Yes be a combined Yes, and your No, be a combined No; anything more and you are inviting the evil one into your home”.

    Parents should remember that their responses need to be delivered in partnership. They should take time to talk, prepare and understand what they are deciding to stand behind. Nothing is worse than creating your own “mom vs. dad” moment. It starts with “not eating cookies in the living room” and can grow into everything your kids can count on you for.

    I love being a Dad


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