lessons from a 1970′s co.worker (part one)


My mom was one of the parents who regularly said, “Because I said so.” I told myself I would never say that...like I told myself I would never make my kids clean on Saturday mornings so they could watch cartoons like the rest of the world.

She didn’t say it all the time; just when I would challenge her directives or “no’s” with “why”? Mom wasn’t someone you challenged regularly. Mostly, you said just “ok” or “yes, m’am.” Hmm…that reminds me that I also told myself I wouldn’t make my kids say those things routinely. I would explain things to them when they had questions so they wouldn’t feel like I was just being bossy. I wanted them to know that I wasn’t telling or asking them to do things “just because” but for good reasons they deserved to understand.

Then I grew up. I worked for a national organization in a secretarial pool where we were all handed jobs to get done. Our boss didn’t ask us how we felt about our jobs and she didn’t explain why she was asking us to do them. One of my co-workers regularly whined about this. She didn’t understand why she was the one asked to do the filing or take a document upstairs to another department or call to order lunch for a manager’s meeting. Susan, our boss didn’t have the inclination or the time to explain the “why” behind every task or why she was asked to do it this time.

I remember going home from work one night and calling Mom. I wanted to thank her for teaching me that “because I said so” was a fine explanation sometimes. I think Mom could have done more explaining at times. I needed help to go to the heart of issues — my sin, cravings, motivations, temptations and struggles — rather than to just do or not do things because she said so. But my complaining co-worker let me see the importance of not demanding an explanation for everything. I think all of us in the secretary pool were relieved when Susan said, “Because I asked you to.” Before long, that co-worker was no longer with the company.

Mom and Susan didn’t do everything right. They, like me and everyone in their lives, were flawed. But they understood something Mom never explained to me. Authority is a gift that sinful image-bearers like them were called to exercise to reflect His loving, sovereign leadership over all.

These musings are revealing some things in my heart. More on that tomorrow.

1 Comment

I never say "because I said so" because I said I would never say that to my kids.

Well, maybe only every once in a while. :-)

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