What’s Wrong With Yes
I wrote this of two people who had set up a foundation and did so hoping they might effect something that would make a meaningful difference in the world. Of their examples for how one might go about doing such a thing, I distilled this: The beauty in the logic was that it was so simple and that it was not even something new, so it was a little sad to be reminded that so few practiced changing the world as part of their everyday routines. It’s a matter of reversing your learned response of first thinking no to first thinking yes, making yes the default, and then it’s as simple as pausing, breathing, and doing what you can. This was something possible and practicable that I could incorporate into my everyday life, and I very much liked the idea of changing the world.
After I wrote it, it nagged at me. We are taught to say no when we are so young. We are taught to shy away. And I understand a parent’s fear, I truly do. But I think that our (re)actions are only feeding the monster we are trying to cloister ourselves from.
My father is a holy thorn in my side and my hero. Two years ago, he spent an entire his year getting a homeless man off the streets and into a home that helped him back to his feet. It was a hard thing to do. Everyday Isaac, the homeless man, was part of our lives, my father fed him, he let him sleep on the porch when storeowners kicked him off public property. He did laundry for him now and then. He took him to the recycling center to turn in cans he had gathered.
If you ask him about it now, he’ll complain. But he didn’t at the time. He didn’t because it required only two small active steps, he allowed the answer to be yes and then he did something. Each day, something, anything.
I haven’t made a new year’s resolution year, I’m picking this one up late. I will say yes and smile. I will say yes and say hello. I will say yes and frisk my pockets and even if all I can find is a penny, I will give the penny, I will value the penny as not worthless. I will say yes as many times a day as I am asked and I will do what I can, even if it is but one small seemingly infinitesimal thing.Back