Skip to main content

Why: Not "Because"

Kids love to ask why. A hypothetical, yet very typical conversation with my 3 year old might go something like this:

"Did the Reds win?"
No, they lost.
Because they didn't play as well as the other team.
Because we don't have the same level of talent on our roster.
Because the scouts didn't do a good job finding better talent.
Because our organization is....well...look, just because!

Ultimately the conversation ends when I play the trump card of "just because," which either constitutes me not being able to answer the impossible, or irritation that I keep having to answer the same question.

The cyclical "why" question we attribute to childlike behaviors. Eventually we grow out of the "why" stage and we move into an exploring stage where we discover "why" on our own. Ultimately we enter into a stage of complete enlightenment (sarcasm implied) and we suddenly know "why" for everything there is to know (or at least, we think we do).

And yet I can't help but wonder if we would do well to give ourselves another healthy dose of the "why" medicine we once prescribed to.

How often do you find yourself going through the motions of day-to-day life without asking yourself why you do the things you do. Why do you always put your left sock on before your right? Why do you wash your hair before your body in the shower? Why do you take the highway to work instead of the back roads? Why do you work where you do? Why don't you come home right at 5:00? Why didn't you talk to your colleague on the way out the door? Why did you watch Netflix instead of reading your Bible? Why do you keep putting off that household chore?

And on and on the list goes.

All too often I am guilty of preceding ahead with an idea or an action without first raising the question "why." Am I truly being intentional with the way I spend my day, or am I just doing the thing I always do without asking the why question at all?

We were sitting in staff meeting yesterday and the "why" question came up as we were considering integrating some new online software to make accessible to the church. It was clear that the website subscription would greatly benefit the whole congregation, as it had a lot of bells and whistles and was pretty sharp. But before we pulled the trigger on it, we wanted to be sure that we weren't just doing it because it was a good site or because it was fancy. We wanted to be sure we had clearly defined why we wanted to utilize this site. How this would specifically help us empower the congregation. What specifically the end goal would be.

Asking the why question might seem tedious, but it should help keep you on course. It should help winnow out meaningless activity in your life and hone you in on doing the things that you really feel passionate about and care for.

So the next time your child asks why, instead of getting frustrated with them for asking why or blowing them off with the infamous "because" answer, remember that we should be asking the same.

Psalm 8:3-4
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?


Popular posts from this blog

Protesting ChristMass

During a meeting with several other Cincinnati area worship ministers last week we got to talking shop about Christmas/Christmas Eve services; who was doing them, who was not, how many and what time. I was intrigued (neither positive nor adverse reaction) to find that roughly a third of the churches represented were not having any kind of Christmas Day services, even though Christmas morning is a Sunday this year. Yet there was one leader (Reggie) who said that their church has a Christmas morning worship service every year regardless of whether it falls on a Sunday.

Initially this shocked me. How could this be? Why would this be? Why have a church service every Christmas? Why not stay home and eat cinnamon rolls and open presents like the rest of America? Reggie said many of the people who expect this from his congregation are not native North Americans. Initially Reggie was against the idea, but once he realized how many people from his congregation wanted to have a Christmas mornin…

The Home School Game

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Our family has started a tradition of celebrating this day by opening gifts from our stockings on this day and remembering the historical figure of Nicholas, who was a humble and generous person. It is a wonderful compromise for our family backgrounds to both celebrate Santa Claus and at the same time keep Christ-mas about Christ. It has become a tradition I look forward to every year.

This year, we decided to add an element of teaching our children to be generous by choosing toys they want to give away to other girls and boys who are less fortunate than our children. Katie lined up two dozen toys they had not been playing with for some time now and laid them all out on a table. One by one, our kids examined the toys on the table and were instructed to pick out onetoy they wanted to keep for themselves. After each kid had picked out a toy to keep, they were told to go back through the toys and pick another toy they wanted to give away. It was heart-…

Imitation: Diets, Houses, and Faith

There were 3 options for my preschoolers to choose from: Honey Bunches of Oats, Cocoa Pebbles, or Raisin Bran. I set all 3 on the table and asked each child which cereal they would like to eat for breakfast; all three chose 'Honey Boats.' After pouring their cereal and getting each kid situated, I poured myself a bowl of Raisin Bran and we all got to munching.

When Isaiah (my oldest) finished his cereal first he asked if he could have more. Sure thing, which one do you want? 
"That one" *pointing to the Raisin Bran*
Surprised I pour him a bowl of Raisin Bran, surprised that he ate the entire bowl.

As we were cleaning up our bowls from the table after breakfast I realized that the Cocoa Pebbles were not touched this morning, not even mentioned. Odd, I thought, typically the chocolately-sugary cereals don't last a week at our house. And yet this is the same [big] bag of Cocoa Pebbles that we opened over a month ago. Why the sudden lack of interest?