Mac McPhail Contributing columnist
November 24, 2013
“Because I said so.” Just as soon as I said those words, I chuckled to myself. I’m sure there’s a child psychologist out there somewhere shaking their head in disapproval. They say you should always explain your reasons in a way that the child will understand. But sometimes the child doesn’t want to understand. They just want more popcorn, more drinks, more candy, more hot dogs, etc. They just want more.
A couple of weeks ago, I took my grandson, Talen, and my sister’s grandson, Jack, to an East Carolina football game. That’s two eight year old boys, at a football game with over 40,000 other fans. I gave them the rules while riding to the stadium. First, hold my hand when crossing the street and when in the crowd. Second, don’t wander off and pay attention to what I say. Talen and Jack did a good job in following the rules. Well, about as good as you could expect from eight year olds. But there was one thing I forgot. Eight year old boys are a bottomless pit for junk food.
Just as soon as we walked through the gate it started. “I’m hungry,” Jack said. “Me, too,” Talen pitched in. “Let’s get something to eat.” So we ended up in a long line at the concession stand. What to get was a major decision for the boys, but they managed to decide. After getting a couple of drinks, a hot chocolate, a hot dog, a bag of peanuts, a box of popcorn and a Chick-fil-A sandwich, we finally headed up to our seats in the stands. (By the way, stadium food isn’t cheap. I did end up with one of the drinks and ate a few of the peanuts.)
By the end of the first quarter it started again. They were hungry and wanted more. I think Talen said something about “starving.” I told them that they had enough for now and we would go down after halftime and get something else. (I thought if I could hold out until then, we would be able to get by with only one more trip to the concession stand.) But it wasn’t working. They both ganged up on me. “But I’m hungry.” “I can’t wait that long.” I told them we were going to wait until the start of the third quarter to get something else to eat. Then one of them asked, “Why?” Then I responded in a manner that I heard many times as a child and in a way Momma and Daddy would have been proud. “Because I said so,” I said in a sort of stern voice. OK, it really wasn’t that stern, but they got the message.
As the game progressed, Talen and Jack continued to sometimes watch, play and aggravate each other, and make friends with other fans sitting around us. But when the third quarter began, they quickly reminded me that it was time to go get more food. So we headed downstairs to the concession stand for more drinks, hot chocolate and candy. ECU was winning in a romp so we left the game early in the fourth quarter “to beat the traffic.” (Actually, I was exhausted.)
“Because I said so.” Boy, I sounded like my folks. I heard it many times growing up. And it usually followed after me asking, “Why?” I was like Talen and Jack. I wanted something, or to do something, and honestly, whatever reason they would give me for not allowing would not satisfy. Sometimes my parents would try to explain. But I wasn’t after a reason, I was after my way. Then would come the “Because I said so.” I now realize it means, “I don’t have to give you a reason. I know what is best for you. I’m in authority here, you’re not.”
Things are not going the way we like and we ask God why. We don’t have what we think we should have and we ask God why. Sometimes He may give us an explanation, often He does not. If we are truly honest, most of the time, we’re not really after an explanation, we’re after our way. We continue to ask why, and don’t get an answer. Maybe it is God telling us, “Because I said so.” Maybe it’s God telling us, “I don’t have to give you a reason. I know what is best for you. I’m in authority here, you’re not.”
Growing up, I knew my parents loved me, wanted the best for me, and would do whatever they could to help make it so. I wish I had remembered that when I heard “Because I said so” all of those times. It might have been easier to take and understand. God loves me, God wants the best for me, and has the power to make it so. Maybe, if I remember that …