Every day, kids have thoughts and ideas. Crazy, creative, out of the box, off the wall thoughts and ideas. But also, ones as simple as "play with me, Dad" or "let's go to the park". And, let's be real, the majority of the time it's way easier to say "no" than "yes" in these moments. But why? I think every father/parent knows the answer, but are too embarrassed or prideful to admit it.
As a parent you know that no matter what the thought or idea is, it's going to take energy and effort. Energy and effort that will forever go unnoticed, maybe until your kid has a kid of their own one day. After a day of work, even the thought of exuding effort to get off the couch can be enough to say "no". We don't want to put the phone down, hit the pause button, or use what little energy we have left on someone other than ourselves. Basically, to put it blunt, we don't want to stop being selfish to pour into our children.
Now, I'm not writing this to shame or make you feel bad. In fact, I'm writing this out of my own experience. I'm writing this to help motivate myself to say "yes" more often. At the time of writing this, my oldest son is 4. He is constantly, constantly asking for me to play with him. He absolutely loves to play! And as much as I want to say yes every time, life, exhaustion, and the previously mentioned selfishness creep in. This is an area where my wife thrives. She continually reminds me to say "yes" more often because "He is only going to ask to play with you for so long". That hit home.
That doesn't mean that a switch is flipped and saying "yes" just happens every time. Not even close. It takes effort. Conscious effort. It's challenge ourselves to continually do better for our children.
The father who has selflessly poured himself into the life of his children may leave no other monument than that of his children. But as for a life well lived, no other monument is necessary. -Craig D. Lounsbrough
Now, this does not mean you have to say yes to everything, but given that kids get so excited about their crazy, expensive, or even dangerous ideas, you should make the effort to say yes when feasible. Your child doesn't understand the effort it takes, the high cost, or the potential danger; the only thing they are thinking about is how fun and exciting it will be! Indulge that feeling when able.
Your child won't always remember the exact activity, words said, or laughter shared, but they will remember how they felt in those moments. Joy instead of sadness. Fulfilment instead of Disappointment.
Last, there are times when you will have to say "no". Whether it be a time or budget restraint, too dangerous an activity for their age, don't have the crafts required, anything, be sure to explain the "why". A "no" without explanation could easily be taken as "because I don't want to spend time with you". And while that could be so far from the truth, don't assume your child knows or understands the real reason.
Challenge yourself to say "YES".
Be Present. Be Intentional