David (33 months) has started asking “why?” when I ask him to do something. Now, I am very sensitive to the need of children to understand why. I grew up in a home where why questions were not seen as rebellious, and I fully appreciate the rarity of this atmosphere in an independent fundamentalist family.
At the same time, David has not fully grasped that he is not in charge of our family. He still informs me that he is going to pray for breakfast. He answers “I don’t want to” when asked to do something unpleasant, and believes this is a valid response that should always be honored.
So, we have been having authority discussions: We all obey God. Daddy answers to God for our family; mommy answers to Daddy; David and Bethel answer to Mommy when Daddy is gone, and Daddy when he is home.
I’ve already considered that I should wait for him to obey before telling him why, but I believe he needs to get the authority structure down first. Thus, I don’t mind saying, “Because I said so”
to his query. But last week, when he asked this question, I surprised myself when I answered, “Because God tells you to obey your parents.” This statement establishes another authority structure. I like it. Maybe it’s better than “I told you so.” I’ll have to think about that.