Nothing But Yes

My nearly teenager announces that she wants to redesign her room. (She merely wants all the furniture in a different location, so this costs me nothing.) As she’s broadcasting her plans to destroy my carefully balanced layout of her beautiful room (there’s even an accent wall of dark green), I remember a wise comment by a great mother that the secret of parenting teens is to “say yes as much as possible.” She advised me that “saying yes as much as possible” builds a great rapport between mothers and daughters.

I think that the “no” really matters and means something when it’s not overused.

I say, “Yes! Of course!” I hide all my interior warnings of accent walls, poor lighting, and symmetry.

So I stand there in the bedroom as the tornado of furniture, clothing, and bedding flies about. I’m there to help; I offer no commentary except supportive statements. I give her full artistic control.

This nearly does me in.

To contain my controlling tendencies, I vacuum three years worth of dust under her bedside tables that I never thought to move. Maybe I don’t have everything in order, after all. The dust stares me down, mocking.

Meanwhile, she’s taking over. She’s dominating her space as she should. She’s got full artistic control, as she should. As she should.

It’s a breakthrough. This is her space; this is her life. When it’s all over, she calls the whole family in to see her work. She feels so good in her new space, and I feel so good that I didn’t disempower her.

Maybe she’ll remember the day her otherwise controlling mother (who’s changing by God’s power) stood in the center of her teenage tornado and said nothing but Yes!

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  1. I think you are very wise.
    Having lived through this very thing – 3 bed room walls transformed with an aqua green color, one wall painted brown, – just one of many artistic moments – you are a wise Mom to participate in the encouragement of saying Yes. You are heavily invested in the most important things of life.