Such a tiny term, that little word why, but the very sound of it is like the screech of nails on the world’s largest chalkboard. Each and every utterance of that one word invokes a desire in me to head for the hills… or at least disappear mentally into my happy place. Why why why must they ask why?

Being the mom of a rather large lot of rather small children, I hear the word


“why” incessantly. Why won’t they stop asking me why? I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard the word “why.” I think I could fully fund my children’s college educations. Every. Single. One of them.  My children love the word why.

For the most part, I can put each “why” into one of 2 categories. There’s the quest for more information – the curious why. When my children really want to know why there are chickens living in our garage or why the cat left a 4-footed present at the foot of the bed. Why does the sun come up every morning? Why do I go to school today? Why do we have Christmas?

This kind of why, I love. I love that my children are curious about their world. I love that they want to know more. I love being given opportunites to share with them the things that are important to me. And I love those precious moments of everyday conversation that build our relationship.

Why did God make rainbows? Why did Jesus die? Why don’t you give me a hug right now?

Those kinds of why’s make my heart happy.

And there’s that other “why?.”  It’s the why that gets under my skin, every time. It’s full of attitude. Selfishness. Stubbornness. It’s not a question, it’s a complaint. Not spoken with curiousity, but the kind of defiance that toddlers are known for.

“Honey, please put your shoes on.” “Why.”

It’s a statement of rebelliousness.

“Sweetie, it’s time to pick your toys up.” “Why!”

A rejection of authority.

“It’s time to go now.” “WHY.”

It’s a demand for independance. Just like Frank Sinatra once crooned, “I’ll do it my way.” This kind of a why is more like “Oh heck no.” “I don’t” “I won’t” “Huh-uh” “Nada” “Never” “Not” “Nope” and “No way.” And I hear this why the most.

How often do we say that to God?

When God says, sell your posessions and give to the poor and we say, “Why. I like my stuff.”
When God says care for the orphan and the widow, and we say “But I’m too busy…”

When God says follow me and we say “I can’t right now. I won’t”

When God said, this is the path I have for you, and I say “But, really God, why.”

Why must I do this? Why must my life be this way? Why?

When God says love me above all else, and we say, “Why God?” We are showing Him our rebellion, not love. Our selfishness, not giving. When we endure hardship, and we ask God, “WHY.” When we don’t get our own way, and we ask God “why?” When we don’t have all of the money or the stuff that we want and we say “Why why why?”  And we ask when we’re not really curious, we’re just complaining because we don’t have our way.

But God is far more patient than I am. He handles my “why” far better than I can handle my children’s. I have a lot to learn about patience, but God the Father never runs out of patience for His children.

I try to hide my rolling eyes and my grimaced face when my kids proclaim their displeasured: “WHY.” I stuff down my own bad attitude for the 437th time in a day that “why” crosses the threshhold to my ears. “Because I’m your Mom and I make rules to keep you safe,” I respond with all the kindness and gentleness and sweetness I can muster (which, all too often, isn’t really all that much). God’s patience never runs out. God’s love for us is never quelled by our rebellious, stubborn, independent selves. God can handle our ungrateful “why” because of who He is.

“Because I AM.”

I hate to admit it. It bothers me terribly when my kids say it, because, sadly, I say it, too.