I will NEVER say that to my children – “Because I said so”.
I remember thinking that after my mother had used that response with me, probably because I kept asking “why?”
I ended up using that phrase many times with my own children, simply because it was the only response that fit the moment. Sometimes explanations simply don’t work. This happens when;
- the child is too young to understand the reason
- the child keeps asking “why” even when a reason is given
- the reason seems unfair to the child
- there is not time to explain – the obedience must be immediate
“Because I said so” is the time-honored response of parents because we have authority as parents to decide what is best for our child at any given time. This does not mean we should never give a reason for what we ask our child to do. Many times an explanation helps develop positive communication between a parent and a child.
We must remember though, we are the parents and our children will not always understand what we ask them to do. Learning to obey even when we don’t understand is an important life lesson. Our teachers, coaches, employers, and officials will ask us to do things throughout our lives that we neither understand or like. We still need to do them unless it violates God’s will. Life will be so much more pleasant for our children if they learn this sooner than later.
Isn’t it true for us as adults as well? We are willing to follow rules when we know they are for our good – but if we don’t understand, well that is a different story. Yet we often don’t understand what God is allowing to happen in our lives while we are going through it. It is only as we look back that we see His love and grace at work. Sometimes we won’t know God’s purpose until we meet Him face to face.
Jesus had to teach this principle to His disciples. In Luke 5:4-6
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” (emphasis mine)
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
Jesus told Peter to go out and throw his nets into deep water (not the usual place to make a good catch)in the day (after they had fished all night and caught nothing). Peter answers Jesus, “but because you say so”…
Peter, James, and John would never have experienced the blessing of catching all those fish if they had not obeyed Jesus. Will we obey when the Lord tells us to “love our enemies”, “do good to those who spitefully use us”, “forgive as we have been forgiven”?
Are we willing to obey God even when we don’t understand why?
I pray we learn to obey our heavenly Father ” because He said so” and teach that lesson to our children as well.