“Yes” should be your default answer whenever your children ask you to do something.
They want you to play a game? Yes.
They want you to go outside? Yes.
They want to jump on your back and have you run up and down the hall? Yes.
They want you to catch them as they jump off the couch? Yes. (They should always ask first. If they just jump, the consequences for both father and son can be unpleasant. Don’t ask me how I know this.)
As I look back on the times I have said “yes,” I realize I have never regretted saying “yes.” And yet, there is still resistance. There is a sense of ownership I have on my own time. I have things I need to do and things I want to do.
Despite all of my experience telling me that I need to say “yes,” I am still tempted to say no. And once you say “no” enough times, your children will stop asking. They will assume your default answer will be “no.” Your rejection withers their vitality. They wanted to share their vitality with you and slow down your aging process.
But you rejected them.
This is why your default answer should always be “yes.” Make it a habit. A habit that lives so deep in your bones that the temptation to say “no” would have to crack your femur and dig out your marrow in order for you to succumb to it.
Of course, you have to say “no” from time to time. Life is messy. You have other responsibilities.
But let that “no” be softened by a “not right now.”
And let your past displays of “yes” be so regular that your children believe your promise of “later” as if it had been written in the stars since the foundation of the world.