Valuable Life Lessons from Mom: Yes Be Yes


Did your mom say short repeatable statements that have stuck with you through the years? Maybe they were just silly little phrases like, “Someday your face will freeze like that,” or  “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Growing up my mom quoted either the Bible or Benjamin Franklin. She would quote Franklin saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” “A place for everything, everything in its place,” “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” And she would quote the Bible saying, “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” These were simple phrases, but over time they shaped my character.

James 5:12 says, “But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.” This verse teaches the value of our words and from it, we can draw a few life-changing principles.

When you say you are going to do something, do it. 

Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.” If we want to resemble our Father, we must keep our word.

As a Christ follower, we are called to honor our commitments so never make a promise you can’t keep. If you forgot about an important meeting, don’t promise to remember in the future because your memory will let you down and mistakes will happen. Instead, repent and determine steps you can take and systems you can put in place to plan better for your next meeting.

When you give your word, keep it. 

James 1:26, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” Keeping your word matters in both the big things as well as the small. If you commit to selling a phone online for one hundred dollars but then someone offers to pay more, do you fulfill your commitment to the first buyer or do you try to make a little extra cash? Your integrity and honesty matter more than any amount of money.

To be a high-level leader you must be trusted. And to be trusted, you must have integrity. When you say “yes” to something, this will most likely mean “no” to something else down the road. Be ready to keep your word even if it might cost you something later.

When you speak, speak truth.

Proverbs 12:22 says, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.” When you are telling the truth or making a promise, avoid the extra jargon and simply let your words be true. When you are a person of integrity, you don’t need to swear by anything or make an oath, you just give a straightforward answer. James 5:12 says, “But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.”

My mom was wise to teach me to “let my ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and my ‘No,’ ‘No’” because it set me on the path of integrity. Is there a verse you are repeating over and over to your kids to set them down the right path? If not, consider adding James 5:12 to challenge them in their honesty and integrity.

3 Leadership Principles From My Mom To You


When you think back on your youth, can you remember all of those little phrases that your mom said time and time again? “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” “Wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.” The words that my mom said to me have shaped the man that I have become and the words that you say to your child have the power to direct their future. Here are three leadership principles that my mom taught me and a few scripture passages that you can begin sharing with your children.

“Let your yes mean yes no means no.”

If my mom asked me to mow the lawn and I either skirted around the topic or gave an excuse she would always remind me of what Jesus said during His famous sermon. In Matthew 5:37 Jesus said, “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” I do not need to make a promise or give excuses, I simply need to give an honest answer and follow through.

“Only stupid people get bored.” 

On rainy or long summer days when I began pestering my mom for something to do she would say, “Only stupid people get bored.” I knew this meant to stop being lazy and inactive and to go be productive. The Proverbs are full of warnings against sluggards and lazy people (20:4, 19:15, 21:25, 26:15, 13:4, 24:30-31,12:24) but the verse that really rang true for me has been Hebrews 6:12, “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” My mom always challenged me to be a productive problem solver and these words push me to this day.

“A job worth doing is worth doing right.” 

Maybe my mom was quoting Hunter S. Thompson or maybe he was quoting her but the words, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right” have taught me to pursue excellence in my work. If I was washing dishes, cleaning the litter box, or preparing a speech, these were the words my mom used to encourage me. It’s no wonder one of my favorite bible verses has always been Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

The words we choose have the power to shape eternity. Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Think back to your last few conversations with those who matter to you most and ask yourself if you were speaking life or death. Are there phrases that you use with your kids that will challenge them to grow? Are you speaking scripture into their lives? What phrases do you suggest parents use when training up their kids in the way they should go? Share in the comments!