One of my boys has the bad habit of saying “No” to trying anything new. For instance, a couple days ago I tried to show him how to pour his own water. He was immediately resistant. I tried to gently hold his hands on the pitcher. “We’ll do it together,” I said. He pulled his hands away.
That’s not the end of the story because I am getting to be an expert at dragging him into doing things he doesn’t want to do. I know that if he is forced to try something new, he often ends up liking it.
I used my stern disciplinarian voice and told him he had to pour the water with me. He was still quite resistant, but he knew that I usually don’t make idle threats. I held his hands to the pitcher and he very reluctantly poured a cup of water with me.
He was so upset by the incident that I think he even refused to drink the water, but guess what happened a few hours later? I started to fill everyone’s cups with water for dinner. “No, Daddy!” he said, “I can do it!” He excitedly and proudly brought the pitcher over to his place and poured his own glass of water.
He’s been happily helping himself to water for the last few days now.
Today at the grocery store one of his younger brothers saw a small yogurt drink (see photo above). “Can I try that?” he asked. I said he could, and I asked my oldest if he wanted one as well. “No” was the immediate answer. His suspicion of new things got the better of him.
You can guess what happened when we got home. Our three-year-old loved his yogurt drink. He enjoyed every last drop. His older brother hovered nearby wishing he had his own.
“You said ‘No’ back at the store,” I reminded him. “You let fear stop you. Next time you need to say ‘Yes’ even if you are afraid.”
Although we adults are more sophisticated than my little boys, our automatic reaction to new things is often the same: “No.” Our fear of the unknown stops us from obeying God when he is trying to teach us and stops us from receiving from him when he wants to bless us.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (II Timothy 1:7)