Growing up I heard the phrase “because I said so…” many times. I even catch myself telling our daughter Hannah it once and a while. Just this morning, Hannah placed her cup on its side instead of its base. The last time I told her before I showed her how to do it, I said, “Do it because I said so.”
It got me thinking about the times I was told to do something because someone caring for me would typically respond with the, “because I said so.” I started thinking about how I would respond, wondering if it helped me grow or teach me. Unfortunately, from my murky memories I have from 20 years ago I had to answer to myself that couldn’t clearly see what I learned. Then I got to thought, ‘well what would help to promote growth and learning?’
So I turned to the Bible.
God tells us in Ephesians 6:4 that we are to not provoke our children to anger. He continues to tell us that to do so we need to use discipline and instruction. I think this is the hard part for most people, including myself. We cannot discipline our children and those under our care without instruction. Effectively, this removes easy, quick solutions such as “because I said so” from our vocabulary when we want to follow the first part of the verse: do not provoke your children to anger.
I gotta say, not much more makes you angrier than being told, “Because I said so.” It bears the horrible connotation that the user knows more than you and you don’t need to know, because you’re too young (immature, small, fill in the blank). This is something I need to remember as I move forward into parenting, especially as their years progress and the explanations to the questions they ask get weightier and more important. Even if they hate my quick, easy response, because of their pride, it is still not an appropriate response on our part. It is a conversation ender that belittles the receiver.
Imagine if Jesus or the Apostles told those entrusted to them “Because I told you so” when a question or conflict was presented… Man, I am glad they didn’t! I love their in depth instruction and discipline they provide to us on paper. Paul would be told of questions or several conflicts in most of, if not all of his churches. Yet we can see from the New Testament that he chose to invest so much time into the 13 canonical responses we have from him. In most cases we can translate his responses of instruction into multiple pages within our bibles. In Romans, Paul wrote what we now dub as 16 chapters worth of instruction and guidance to complete strangers he hoped to visit in the future.
Let’s take the time to develop our children just like the forefathers of our faith did to those under their care. Let’s be more like Jesus and abide in him, as to not provoke our children into anger, sin and a lack of discipline. Let’s get rid of “because I said so.”