©2005, Lani Wiens
a fresh flowers original
Every once in awhile my #2 son decides that I’m too bossy and lets me hear about it. Usually it’s because he doesn’t want to do whatever it is that he is supposed to do. If his older brother or younger sister tell him what to do too many times he calls them bossy as well. At times I’ll come to his defence and agree that they are indeed being too bossy and they need to back off. However, when he tells me I’m being bossy I inform him that it’s part of my job description and he’ll just have to deal with it.
The other day he was really in a snit and this explanation didn’t sit well with him. Especially when his sister got to being bossy and I told her to back off. The question finally came, “Why is it okay for you to be bossy and not okay for us to be bossy?” Why indeed!? Answer: What is authority?
As a parent God has given me a mandate to train my children, to educate them, to love them, to protect them, disciple them, discipline them and sometimes that looks like ‘bossy’. It’s a big responsibility. Because of that responsibility it puts me in a position to make decisions on their behalf. No you can’t play with razor blades. Yes, you can clean up your room before you play on the computer. He’s put me in a place of authority over them. Along with authority comes responsibility.
So why isn’t it okay for them to boss each other around? At this point in time they do not have responsibility for one another other than what we give them. For example, if oldest was old enough to babysit the younger ones we would give him the authority to tell them what they can eat and what they can’t, when they’ll go to bed and to break up fights. They are responsible for keeping their rooms clean and therefore we give them authority to send out anyone whom they deem to be making a mess. However, in the day to day running of the household and life in general they don’t have the responsibility and authority to tell each other what they can or cannot do. They can, however, remind each other of what we as parents deem acceptable behaviour and conduct so long as they do it in a kind and gentle way for the good of the other person. (yeah, yeah, you can snort all you want, it doesn’t happen that way here either)
As an adult we place ourselves in the same position as we allow (sometimes whether we like it or not) others to have authority in our lives. The bank, for example, has authority to say whether or not we can pursue certain avenues even though we don’t like it we are subject to them. I had to catch myself this week as I was told by someone who had authority to say so that we couldn’t do what we were proposing to do. As an adult I can take a step back (after having a little pity party) and realize that the bank, my pastor or _________(fill in the blank) has my best interest at heart and doesn’t want me in a place that will jeopardize my future well-being. They will carry the responsibility of those decisions and therefore have authority to say yes or no to the proposal. Thinking this through in this way has helped me to put the decisions of those in authority into proper perspective, however, like my children, I still sometimes give in to a pout now and then.