From adolescent all the way to adult, human nature is to reason and rationalize. Well, at least most of the time. We recognize that everything happens for a reason; the result of an equal and opposite action. The foundation of science and sects of society is to know not only that something happened, but to understand exactly why. This word "Why," fuels industry and study, and serves as the key to unlocking the deepest parts of man.
It's the question that everyone asks, but few genuinely want or even know how to answer.
As a lover of deduction and logic, in pursuit of a deeper understanding of the way people's brain tick, I find myself asking this question quite a bit! As a youth pastor I can remember watching countless of my students blatantly disregard a rule or guideline. Seeking the best, in hope of a unique, positive exception, I would ask, "Why did you do that?" To which many would respond, "I don't know."
Depending on your position as a follower or leader you will relate to another common response to this question differently. When given instruction, whether student, child, or employee, people ask "Why?" And maybe you've heard or even said, "Because... I said so."
I can remember my biological mother rationalizing and spiritualizing her vague response with this gem: "If you don't obey me without question, you will never be able to blindly obey God when he gives you instruction that doesn't make sense in the moment." Within myself...and maybe a few times audibly I would reply, "Well God knows everything....you don't." Though she was on the right track, she failed to recognize her opportunity for growth. - If you are a teen who struggles in search of the ever allusive "why" or a leader who is tired of being asked, let's look at some principles about the question "why."
1. "WHY" BRINGS ACCOUNTABILITY TO ACTION
Living in the moment is a philosophy ever before our snapchat society's face. When someone asks "why" it solicits both pause and thoughtful consideration of not only the action, but what lead to it. It holds us accountable, causing us to live for an extended time in more than a moment, but the motive and mindset that led to that moment of action. "Why" slows us down from rapid movement but allows us to build momentum in a series of intentional moments.
2. "WHY" EVALUATES AUTHORITY
If you want to distinguish a leader from a dictator, study their response to this intense question. A dictator hates to be asked "Why" because an explanation might open their line of reasoning up for discussion. Dictators view this question as opposition where leaders view "why" as an opportunity. A good leader always does their best to preempt this question by accompanying instruction with relevant information. When this is done, "Why's" can be recognized as a sign of an inattentive follower or an opportunity to engage followers in the process. Each time a follower is engaged in the process their discernment and leadership abilities are enhanced.
3. "WHY" = RESEARCH OR REBELLION
"Why" can serve as an opportunity for research or rebellion. It's all about what you do with the answer. It is not a sin to question the instruction of authority so long as it is done properly and with intent to rationalize and solidify loyalty to a cause. You can ask God "Why" all day long so long as you are willing to abide by his answer. Many ask their "why's" in an attempt to fuel their rebellion. Why do you ask why?
4. "WHY" REFLECTS RELATIONSHIP
Are you developing relationships with those that follow you? Do people feel the freedom to ask "why?" Your response to this question is a sure-fire why to determine whether you are a compassionate confidant, or an over-confident commander. Allowing that freedom establishes strong relationships. Each answered "why" generates compound interest in the market of trust that yields a future return of unquestioned authority.
Dear follower, please recognize that "why" is the currency that can easily purchase contempt when spent unwisely. Over-spending bankrupts future opportunity and return. Be careful to evaluate "why" you ask "why." Note that "why's" are not always acceptable currency depending on which type of leader you serve. Your ability to spend it, and their ability to accept it will undoubtedly reflect the future of your relationship.