Because I Said So
"Because I said so," four words every teenager hates to hear. It is the phrase parents use when they do not want to explain themselves even when they have the moral high ground. It is a phrase that starts more arguments between kids and parents than the phrase, "I forgot." It is also a phrase that has morphed into a lifestyle and encourages people to do what they want and not worry about explaining themselves to anyone.
Speaking from experience, many of the times I got upset about this phrase growing up is because I felt like my parents did not believe I deserved a natural explanation. It felt more dismissive than informative and often left me with more questions and feelings of resentment. Unfortunately, many of us as parents have unconsciously led this way spiritually as well. We tell our kids to come to church or LifeFocus, and often when they ask "why," we respond with "Because I said so." This mindset does not draw our kids closer to God, and it drives them away. There are already so many mysteries regarding our relationships with Christ; let's not add more. It is better for us to explain the importance of a personal relationship with Christ and that as spiritual leaders in their lives, we would like to help them grow in that area. I think it is also OK to let your kids know that you worship the Lord in your household, and as a result, we go to church on Sundays as a family. They do not have to love your explanations, but that does not mean you should not give them one.
This generation is not moved by words and often questions the authenticity of those around them. That is one of the things I love about them most. You cannot phone it in with them. They watch us. They see us stress about our finances and talk negatively about others. They see us disrespectfully treat our spouses at times. Then they see us come to church on Sunday and act completely different. And we all know that church is not about being perfect, but our kids are not looking for perfection as much as they look for transparency. When you tell them not to worry about what college they are going to because God is in control, but then they watch you stress about work or a promotion, it sends mixed messages. Our actions are saying, "Do as I say, not as I do." We all hate that phrase! The fact of the matter is that our teens are going through so much every day. The world is throwing so much at them, and if we cannot begin to have an open and honest dialog with them, we risk losing them.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul says, 'Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.' It is clear that our job is not just to discipline our children, but it is also to instruct them in the ways of the Lord. That means it is our job as parents to give them a Biblical foundation for the world they live in. Biblical instruction is an area that the church has a history of falling behind in. When we do not address this issue from the pulpit or within the home, it opens the door for our children to seek answers elsewhere. Typically, these answers come with a hidden agenda from the world. If we do not begin to give our kids solid Biblical footing, then the world will provide them with a corrupted one, and it will be hard to overcome.
As a dad, I have started to allow my kids to see my flaws. My younger son struggles with anxiety, so it would be easy to tell him that we called to be anxious for nothing. He does not fully understand what that means. So instead of us as parents just throwing random scriptures in his face, we show him that we too struggle with anxiety as well and that we are learning to give God control in this area of our lives. Not only does it take away the shame he feels, but it also opens the lines of communication because now he knows we struggle too.
At LifeFocus, we have decided to take that stand and tackle the thorny issues and challenging questions. Not because it is the cool thing to do or to draw attention to ourselves but because we realize that the world is not passing up any opportunities to influence our kids. Therefore, neither can we. The only way we will reach this generation and the generations to come is if we begin to live our faith out loud and let our actions do the talking. I believe that this is a chosen generation, and it is no surprise that they have so much in front of them to distract them from what is most important, which is a relationship with Christ. So, it is our job as parents and leaders to remind them of what is important and show them why it is essential. And not just because we said so.
Good word!! Makes me realize we need to understand and have a personal conviction for the reasons we do things. Highlights the personal, relational aspect of Christianity we forget about
This was a good deep dive into a phrase that is easily thrown around and overlooked. I appreciate the effort you put into thinking about how our words affect the younger generation