Monday, December 28, 2009

Because I said so

If you're a parent, you have heard yourself say this at least once. Generally, it happens when too much has been happening and you have more than one thing on your mind. You tell someone to do something and they ask why. And you say, "because I said so." When you're the kid, this sounds pretty lame but it also indicates that you are very near to crossing a line.

But "because I said so" sounds differently when it describes our own behaviour. Why are you doing that? Because I said I would do it. What are you loyal to him or her or that organization? Because I said so. How do you know you'll follow through with that? Because I said I would.

Everything we say is only words, and we all know that it is hard to predict the relationship that words will have with the world they represent. Sometimes we say what we mean with our words, and sometimes the relationship between what we say and what we mean is more difficult.

Yet, still we say "because I said so." We say it as if what we say changes something, as if the fact of saying something at least begins the process of making it real. We say it as if words are a commitment to action or change.

How do you know the difference between the times when words are only words and times when saying it makes it start to happen? It's a good question as people think about the changes they want to see in themselves in the next twelve months. What's the difference between making a resolution you know you only half mean and making something happen because you said it would?

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