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Parenting Game: "Trust Me"

Every generation overcompensates for the preceding one.

A teacher at my kids' former school shared how, as a child, she used to challenge her parents' decisions by asking why. And she would be rewarded by their terse response "Because I said so".

She hated it. So much so that since then she has made it her mission (in line with the school's child-centered philosophy) to explain to her students in every situation the reasoning behind her requests.

I've seen this first-hand in the classroom. A couple years ago, my son's teacher (not the one above) would bring teaching to a halt for several minutes so she could explain to a disruptive student why his behavior was causing the class problems, ask him to consider other options, and then respectfully wait for him to come to a decision. It was maddening, for both me and my son.

John Rosemond has a solution that these teachers would hate. He advocates "because I said so" (BISS) because:

I have gone on record as saying that “Because I said so” affirms the authority of the parent, provides an honest answer to a child’s demand to know the reason behind the parent’s decision, and all but eliminates the possibility of mutually debilitating parent-child argument.

I don't want to argue with my 4-year old son. If he challenges my wife's or my decisions, it's often because he is short-sighted, tired, and thinking solely of himself. He's not really interested in the reasoning and he's looking for a chance to argue. That's not always the case for my older kids but sometimes the situation doesn't provide the opportunity to explain all the reasons and it's often they don't have the life experience to understand my perspective.

Rosemond goes even further to propose an even more concise alternative - "Trust me". It's beautiful, half as many words, and guaranteed to drive kids just as crazy. I recommend using it judiciously, as Rosemond suggests, and never in anger. He closes with this:

In the meantime, all one can do is ask the child to trust. To which someone might say, “But he won’t understand that either!” That’s all right. Faith is a long-term investment.

And that's when I realized why we get so angry with God. At a retreat recently, someone asked about discerning God's will. One of the teachers answered that often when we ask that question it's because we're unhappy with the direction of our life. We challenge God's decisions concerning our present and future. We ask Him "Why?" And God responds in silence with "Trust me". He's not interested in arguing with us (though we can continue to protest). Rather, He is providing an honest answer to his child, affirming His authority, and asking us to rely on a perspective and life experience that we will never have.

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