Because I said so! If you are a parent the odds are that it is likely at some time in the course of that career you uttered these words with feeling. “Because I said so!” There is, of course, nothing wrong with a child asking “why.” In fact, I have always encouraged my children to gain a better understanding of things by asking “why.” There are even times when in correction I expect them to ask me why I have done this or that or why they are undergoing this certain punishment. For example, if my son or daughter transgress a curfew, I want them to know why it is that there is a punishment for this sort of error. In so doing a parent has a double opportunity to both enforce the law and give the child a better understanding of the nature of the law at the same time. In that hope we as parents are always encouraged that the next time the temptation occurs, the memory of the first transgression will blunt the second temptation.
The word and command of a parent are very important tools in raising a child. Our word, first and foremost, is what we guide our children by. If I say “don’t do that because,” my word has revealed a signpost for my son or daughter. It is implanted in their consciousness so that whenever they arrive at the action which prompted the word in the first place, they know how to act. In that respect, my word needs revealing to them. It is important that they understand it and, therefore, important that they pose questions to it to better comprehend it.
There are also the more serious matters of command. “You must do the dishes now!” As much as a child hates to hear it, commands are a part of what parenting is all about. Although we need employ these more sparingly and with much aforethought than our word, commands have their place and, once again, I expect my children to know the “why’s” of the command. Doing the dishes is important because it infringes on others and their freedom to expect a clean counter upon which to cook or a clean dish upon which to eat.
But there is another, a third aspect of instruction, that is much more mysterious than word and command; and that is the will of a parent. This is the characteristic of parenthood that most teenagers chafe at and long to understand but cannot. The reason they cannot understand it is because a parent can’t really explain it. “Just because” is sufficient for the moment. Now this might sound arrogant and overarching on the part of the parent, but it is as much a part of our imparted nature as is our word and command. God ...
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