Being told “no” is something that we learn to deal with from a very young age. Accepting failure and discipline is a life skill, and also one of the most difficult to deal with. However, our society is so infatuated with the word “no.” We have learned time and time again how to accept answers that aren’t what we want, but we’re never taught how to say “no” back. 

The only time we’re really taught to object, is when we’re being offered drugs. The whole D.A.R.E program is fueled from the idea that we should learn the many different ways to say “no.” We don’t realize how powerful the single word is, until we watch the news. Protests are really just society saying “no,” which might be why protests are so frowned upon by certain groups. 

While we’re being taught to accept discipline, we’re being deprived of certain ideals that are also important. When you feel as if something is unfair, you’re allowed to voice your opinion. Voicing your opinion does not make you a brat, it means that you are resilient, which is a vital character trait for making it through the world. Sometimes we have to say “no,” not to make people angry, but to better ourselves and set boundaries.  

We live in a world full of “no.” Do we idly stand by and accept it as being told ultimately for the greater good, or investigate the reasoning behind it? Our lives are revolved around “yes” or “no” decisions. Our parents, teachers, and lawmakers tell us “no,” more than we probably realize. Could you image how different our lives would be if instead of accepting “no” we questioned?

You can’t live your whole life taking unfair orders and softening your pride. There’s a difference between persisting and being hard-headed. As much as you should value the opinions of others, you should also value your own.

Katie Heckman is a senior at Pleasant Ridge High School.