No Means No, Not “The End”


No Means No, Not "The End"A while back, one of our amazing contributors, Autumn, shared her concerns about some life and career advice from author Rachel Hollis in the post, “Girl, No Means No.” Specifically, Autumn addresses the many MLM entrepreneurs and salespeople in general for whom, as Hollis suggests, “No is not a reason to stop. Instead, think of it as a detour or a yield sign. No means merge with caution.” Please click the link and read Autumn’s post for yourself, because it is awesome, but the gist is that no actually does mean no, and honoring a firm no is for our own well-being. You can be a successful businessperson and chase your dreams and live the big beautiful life you want without imposing on others who are trying to do the same without you or whatever you’re selling.

The big question for us moms, though, is how do we teach our kids both resilience in the face of obstacles and respect for the lesson of rejection?

To be sure, we want our kids to have the sense of confidence and determination to “not take no for an answer,” pursuing other paths, other buyers, other publishers, other teams, whatever it is to achieve that for which their little-and-one-day-big hearts are passionate. But we have to temper that with “no means no” when it comes to personal boundaries and the importance of honoring laws, limits, and regulations put in place for our safety. Usually no does not mean wait, slow down, try again, or try harder; most of the time, no is for our own good, and kids need to know that too. How can we teach both at the same time?

What if we told our kids, “No means no, not ‘the end'”?

Receiving rejection is hard, for sure, and every parent hates to see her kid suffer, but as adults we can appreciate that rejection is one of our best teachers. This is important life lesson stuff, showing us our strengths and weaknesses, enlightening relationships, leading us on new paths and directing the course of our lives in ways we never would have thought on our own. We need rejection, and we need the strength to let go of what we thought we wanted or needed, but we don’t need it to crush us. No may stop us in our tracks, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line.

When a girl rejects a young man’s advances, no means no…but it’s not “the end.” Another woman will see your worth and love you one day.

When that “dream” job opportunity falls through, no means no…but it’s not “the end.” The right position, a bigger sale, or a better opportunity is right around the corner when you just stick with it.

When the doctor gives a grim diagnosis, no means no…but it’s not “the end.” Get a second opinion, explore alternative therapy, keep having faith.

Let’s try teaching our kids about consent — no means no, and only yes means yes — so they will value respect in relationships, and teach them resilience so they can be ready for the right one rather than fighting to make someone like them. Try modeling industriousness so they know to work hard to achieve their goals, and foster creativity so they can find new solutions rather than giving up when things don’t work out. Try helping your kids know the difference between “no” and “the end.” 

How do you balance teaching your kids respect and resilience? Share your tips and suggestions in the comments!

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Mary Beth Unthank
Knoxville born and bred, my love for this area is deep and true! I'm a working-turned-stay-at-home mom to 4 kiddos from elementary to high school. My husband and I live in Knoxville where we both lead nonprofit organizations and are trying to become Love in our community. I love watching my kids learn something new, cooking for other people (but not for myself), and telling myself I'm a #fitmom when I go to the gym like once a month. I'm a bottle-feeding, disposable diapering, public-schooling (other than the time I homeschooled for a minute) mom with the stereotypical chill attitude of moms with large(r) broods. I love meeting new people, but I talk way too much and laugh when I'm uncomfortable. If you don't mind long stories and bad jokes, we are sure to be friends! Follow my family adventures on my blog Unthank You Very Much


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