Practicing Parents



~by Christine Gough

“OKAY” has taken a bad rap for awhile.  We often joke that “OKAY” is the most common answer to life’s constant questions.

“How was your day?”  OKAY.

“How are you feeling?”  OKAY.

“How does the weather look?”  OKAY.

“Did you like the book?”  It was OKAY.

But then something happened the other day.  And it woke me out of my rut and daily routine.  I was walking by our adjunct family member, Amazon ECHO.  It’s a little device that conveniently stores song libraries, holds lists of important information, and can even play games with you.  It’s almost as forward-thinking as the Jetsons.

Anyhow, due to my husband’s ingenuity, when I walked by Echo and stated, “Echo?  Turn on Christmas Tree.”  She replied, “OKAY.”  And it happened.

As in….I asked one time.  And she said OKAY.  And that was that.  My request was granted. The tree lights went on.   End of story.

I think this moment seemed so unexpected because—-this never happens.  Or maybe I should say, it rarely happens.

I ask my eldest to “please unload the dishwasher.”  And usually anything but “OKAY” comes out.

I request that my youngest stop what he’s doing and feed the dog.  Again, a simple “OKAY” would work perfectly, but not so much.  “MOM…..I NEED TO FEED SALLY!???!  NOW???  I’m busy!”

A good friend of mine was having a similar reality too.  So she made an OKAY! chart.  Every time she places a simple request before her daughter and the response is, “OKAY!”, her daughter gets a star on the OKAY chart thereby getting closer to reaching a reward.

I know I’m not alone….while sometimes I dread the monotone, “OKAY” response to my probing questions, other times, I’m dying to hear it when I place a request to my children.

Good ‘ol Amazon Echo made this utterly clear.  The cheerful “OKAY!” and quick completion of my request threw me.  While I desire this to be done for my own benefit, I am realizing how hard it is to do myself.  I read over and over again that a simple act of kindness, simply saying, “yes” or “OKAY” can be the glue that holds relationships together.  The binding material for thriving, not just surviving, with others.

As we teeter on the brink of this upcoming holiday, maybe this lesson is the reminder we need to model and not just desire from our children and those in our lives.  True giving, the spirit of the Christ’s birth, is a resounding “OKAY!”  A “YES!”  Living from a place of kindness and keeping our eyes open for places we can give the gift of “OKAY!”  Christ’s birth story was one not many would have said, “yes” to.  The circumstances weren’t pretty or polished.  The companions might not have been expected.  The road ahead unknown and overwhelming.  But Mary said, “OKAY.”  In fact, she responded, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  The situation was anything but easy, yet Mary agreed.  She said, “OKAY.”  Not just to feeding the dog, or emptying the dishwasher, but to carrying the very embodiment of God.

My yes might be a bit smaller and day-to-day, but over time, these “OKAYs” build into something bigger.  They begin to form a lifestyle that embodies the divine qualities of kindness and generosity.


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