Raising my kids I would often try to explain to them when my answer was "no." In this life, there's a lot of "stop that," and "don't" and "no, you can't," well at least in our house. Sometimes there's a "not yet," and other times there's a firm "not in this lifetime, over my dead body."
When Emari runs through the house and slides across the floor on her knees, that's a "no." I appreciate her aerodynamics, and she's actually doing a tiny part in keeping the floor swept and polished, but the real issue here is her school pants, that will get extra wear around the knees and then necessitate an earlier than normal return to the uniform store and a debit from my checking account. One of our children actually said no as her first word because that's what she heard the most. I used to feel bad about that, pretty guilty in fact, and then she got a bit older and I realized she was gonna need an extra dose of "no" in her life.
"Can I have a cell phone?"
"Can I wear this skirt?"
"Hang out until I feel like coming home?"
"Cut off all my hair and dye it rainbow colors?"
I find myself giving the negative to these requests. But why?!?! Sometimes I explain, sometimes I don't, sometimes I feel a little petty and throw in a you'll understand when you're old and boring like me and trying to ruin your kids lives...
I started a new book this weekend called, Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline by Lauren Winner. Having read her books before this is turning out to be my favorite. Lauren was raised Jewish and converted to Christianity in her college years. Her perspective is a very unique one. In Mudhouse Sabbath, she goes through each of the major ways that Jews live their lives separately from the world and how Christians approach the same topics. Its a beautiful composite of God loving His people through His commandments. Its a step further into do this, don't do this, because its not really about the yes or the no, but its because I'm laying out the best kind of life for you because I love you so much.