Last night William and many of the rest of the seniors spoke at youth group last night...not really their testimonies, but more of a 'parting thoughts' as it was their last night in youth group. When I asked him if I could crash in on the youth meeting so I could listen to him, he said no. I really wasn't surprised.
After all, he's eighteen and looking for ways to separate from his family and be more independent. And this is how we've raised them! Being independent and self-sufficient is a goal I have for my kids. (And by that I mean that they know how to do things by themselves, take care of themselves - not in a spiritual way, but physical, emotionally, etc.)
I texted and ask a few of my friends that help with the youth group to video-tape William. A few were like - "come on over anyway!!" But no. I wouldn't - couldn't without doing damage to how I have parent. But it made me think of why we do this. It's been so long since I have thought about it.
I think it started with two things. One was all the investigations of sexual assaults that Drew has done over the years. In many of them, it was the woman claiming she said "no", but the man claiming he didn't hear it. He's excuse many times was "but she was acting like she was enjoying it!!" (I've always that meant that the man thought he was such a good lover that no one could really turn him down - and he was so good he could change their mines....totally not realizing that he was really raping them.)
How many times have we seen in movies a women saying 'no' and 'stop it" while she was laughing, giggling, smiling? I don't think women mean to give mix signals, but many times we do. Maybe it's because we aren't taught to stand up for ourselves or taught to be assertive.
Around this time that Drew and I were having these discussions about his cases and the cases in the news, I read a book where a mother describe a scene she witness with her teenage boy and his fellow youth-group-friends. She was hosting a swim party for the group and at one point saw one boy trying to dunk a girl. While the girl was laughing as she was trying to get away from the boy, she was yelling 'no' and 'stop it'....but the boy did not. This mother stepped over and told the boy to stop - which he did. She then asked him if he heard the girl say "stop" and he admitted that he did. The mother said, "Then respect that!" The girl acted like she didn't want to make a scene and said, "Oh, it's okay - I know he was just playing around." The mother told her that no, it wasn't okay. 'No means no.'
This is what I have tried to teach my children - especially my boys. When someone says 'no' or 'stop it", you respect that. No means no. Whether it's William and Benjamin wrestling around like boys do or whether it's with coming into Melissa's room. I've said it many times where they were toddlers and preschoolers whining to get their way by asking over and over again - I said no. And I mean it!
When I subbed I would have a student ask for something...to change seats or whatever and I would say no. They would NOT take that as the final answer. They would ask over and over again. I would just looked at them, "I said no. Whining and asking over and over again may work at home, but not with me. That's my answer and it's not gonna change. The option is for you to accept or get a referral for being disrespectful." They would then usually accept it....but I, always, found it sad that they didn't know that no mean no....they had no idea how to accept that as an answer because they were so use to getting their way. Life doesn't work that way....no means no.... Even when I don't like it.