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Yours Is Not To Reason Why.... Unless You're a Child

One of my favorite quotes is 'Yours is not to reason why, yours is but to do or die.'

I frequently repeat this to my children because their favorite word seems to be 'Why!?'

-Why do I have to clean my room?

-Why do I have to get dressed?

-Why do I have to bathe?

-Why do I have to put my shoes on?

-Why do we have to go to the grocery store?

-Why? Why? Why?!

So I say it. "Yours is not to reason why yours is but to do or DIE! Now get in the car."

Obviously my kids aren't to worried about my death threats. They know I'm just being dramatic (where did you think they got it from?)

Sometimes their questions lead to extradordinary discussions about politics, medicine, economics, or philosophy.

-Why do we have to follow the speed limit? Why do we have to wear our seat belts?

-Why can't we just not go to church today?

-Why do mosquito's have to suck my blood? 

-Why do banks care about your money? (they don't my dear)

Other times the why's lead to blunt and frustrated honesty on my part.

-Why can't I run in the street?

-Why can't I go to the park by myself?

-Why do you always tell me to not talk to adults I don't know?

Then I spare them the flowing words of Tennyson and just shout- "Because you'd die! Now go in the house."

Is it humanly possible for children to just do?

My sister once said to me that her husband and her tried to teach their children to listen immediately, because their girls very lives might depend on obedience. If, say, there was a mad gunman and my sister shouted "Get down!" My nieces lives could be spared because of their instantaneous reactions. It's great logic. I wonder if it works for her. If I tried that on my kids, however, do you think they'd listen?

Not my kids. NOPE.

It happens all the time. On bike rides:

"You need to look before you cross the street okay."

::screeching tires::

"For the love! Can you listen to me? Just once!!!"

At soft-ball games:

"You need to not climb the fence right behind the catcher, Albowin."



The Mischievite is the worst about this:

-"Don't run out of the store and into the parking lot like that please!?"


-"Stop running into the street!"


-"That doesn't belong in your mouth."


-"Stop pestering your brother."


It's enough to make a mom want to rip her hair out. I'm surprised there aren't more of us wrapped in little white jackets in nicely padded rooms.

Oh, wait... do your kids actually listen to you?

I knew it!


literarysdtk said…
I honestly have no memory of ever saying that to you. Although it sounds like something I would say. Not that I actually can claim to have achieved that, but it's a great goal to have. My children tend to ignore me, then claim they never heard me. They think they are being clever, but I used that very tactic myself on Mom and Dad when I was little. "I'm sorry! I didn't hear you! I was reading!" They believed me, too, and it worked like a charm. *eg*
cannwin said…
You know it took me a second to figure out what was going on there, I saw literarysdtk and I was so confused. How was I posting on my own blog without knowing it?

I think it was just brought on by the fact I just commented on LS.

You did say that to me. It's been the goal I'll never achieve ever since. :P
Crystal said…
LMAO..LOVE IT! Stop by my blog I have an award for you.
Serene said…
*groan* I hate the "why"s. Loathe them really.
Jessica Bair said…
Somedays I wish I could be in a padded room. It would be like a vacation...especially if they gave me those good drugs that psych patients are given. Imagine it...a room that's quiet and no one else is there with you, asking silly questions, tattling on eachother, or wanting one more drink, snack, blanket, toy......
thomas family said…
Lately I don't think my girls have heard one thing I have said to them. Especially at church.

Jessica I was just thinking the same thing. Sounds like a very nice vacation. Just me, my straight jacket, tranquilizer, and padded walls, sitting in peace and quiet.
Cannwin said…
Did someone say tranquilizer!?
KC Mom said…
I've heard it said that kids that ask a lot of questions are smart! So, there you go!!
Someday, I hope my kids realize there is something called faith, and then they won't have to ask why all the time....they will just have faith.
Liz Autry said…
So, ya, I am SO done with being ignored as well. There are they why's, and then there are the times when I am yelling as loud as I can and I still can't get them to look at me. Are they deaf? Or are they able to somehow turn my sound off and they truely dont hear me? grrrrrr
Cannwin said…
-KC Mom, sometimes I feel like there is such a thing as too smart. ;)

-Liz, I completely know what you mean. It feels like maybe if you shake them whatever is loose will go back into place and then they'll magically hear you again. That's when I take a deep breath and walk into the other room :)
Royalbird said…
No, my kids NEVER listen or obey. So this summer I am trying out an "obedience jar". When they listen and obey right away, they get a pom-pom in the jar (it was going to be marbles, but apparently, no store on the planet Earth sells marbles anymore, at least in my neck of the woods). If they don't, they lose a pom-pom and get whatever punishment would naturally follow (bring your bike home right now, and if they don't, they lose the bike for a day as well as a pom-pom). If they fill the jar before the end of summer, we will take them to an amusement park.

I'll let you know if it improves the obedience. You can check on my blog,

But I agree, they do need to learn immediate obedience for situations of danger. I just don't know how to teach it.
Kimberly said…
Although it sets a terrible precedent, I tend to answer those questions. The other day my six year old was about to ask me why she had to put her shoes on but then she stopped herself and said, ''Oh right, so I don't hurt my feet or get my toes eaten by bugs.'' It was really, really hard not to do a little victory dance right in front of her...

And then I go nutty some days and shout ''Because I said so!'', words of my mum's I swore I'd never use on my kids. I'll take a straight jacket now please...
Elsie said…
Visiting from TTA! Love your blog... my son is only 15 months, but I know the "why's" are coming... ugh.

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