I am a "Why?" person. I don't mind doing what you want if you'll tell me the reason. I don't think this is always a bad thing--it is good to know why, you can learn a lot that way. As such, I have tried, whenever feasible, to answer our kiddos, "Why's?"
Our minister made the point a few weeks ago that when our kids are asking, "Why?" they are no longer obeying, they are deciding if they agree. Hmm.
I still think teaching my children why we do things is important, so I chewed on that idea for a while. I came up with a new strategy. Now our rule is immediate obedience, but you are welcome to ask about the reason later.
Why immediate obedience? I know that is not popular in many circles, but here's the thing: I don't need to be telling you why I said stop as you continue walking in front of a moving car.
And then there is the other part of the parent child relationship. The one where we are learning to obey our earthly parents, who we can see, in order to learn how to obey the heavenly Father we can't.
Last week I was sitting thinking about a family who recently lost their home to a fire. It is tragic of course, but they have insurance. They will be able to rebuild and purchase replacements for things that were lost, as much as they are able to be found. I felt that I needed to make them a quilt. That was silly I thought, after all they could buy bedding at the store, right? If they bought it they would get what they wanted. I was in the middle of making my quilt. I didn't even know what sized bed they keep. That's silly. Nope. The feeling didn't go away. I still needed to make them a quilt.
Okay then. So I messaged their daughter on Facebook. She could tell me with what size bed I was working. When she wrote back with the size, she asked me why I wanted to know. I told her what I was up to and she told me that they had lost the quilt on their bed and this would mean so much to them. She also told me what colors they decorate in.
As a tiny foretaste of what it will be when I get to give them the quilt one of these days, the wife nearly cried when I gave them a spare blender we had accumulated. One that somehow hadn't made it to Goodwill, despite the fact it had been a in a box for donation and we have made several deliveries there.
I got my why--after I agreed to obey. Sure, their things can be replaced, but not the sentimentality of the gifts. As I go through my days I smile over the wedding gifts we received more than 12 years ago. I can still name the givers of many of those gifts. I can't replace the sentiment of that old quilt, but perhaps I can give them a new memory to smile over as they make their bed in their new home.
Sometimes we never know why we feel these promptings and sometimes we do. So when we get to know why, we can hold on to those for all those times we are left wondering.
Oh, and some day soon, I'll show you that quilt I've been working on!