by Michael Barker

As all parents, my wife and I have rules for our daughters. One of these rules is that my oldest daughter cannot have a cell phone until she is old enough to pay for half of its purchase.  There are good reasons for this rule, none of which I need to justify here.   She understands the rule.

Well, my oldest daughter (twelve years old) came up to me the other day and asked if she could have a cell phone.

“Dad, when may I have a cell phone?”

“Um, when you can pay half of its cost. You know the rule”

“But, what if…”

She then presented some good arguments for why she would need a cell phone.   I told her I would talk about it with her mom.

My wife and I chatted about it. It seemed like a reasonable idea.  Some of her friends had cell phones.   However, I still didn’t feel comfortable just giving my daughter a cell phone without her helping out with its purchase.  So, as silly as this may sound, Cathy (my wife) and I made it a matter of prayer.  The answer came back, “No”.

I told my daughter that her mom and I had discussed it and that the answer right now was, “No, not right now.”

Cathy and I didn’t get angry at her for asking.

Sometime later, some of my nieces came to visit from out of town. They were at grandma’s.  My two daughters were very excited.  They wanted to spend the night over at grandma’s house so they could be with their cousins.  The problem?  It was a school night and well, we don’t allow sleep-overs at grandma’s on school nights.

Our daughters asked if we would allow it just this one time.  They respectfully gave their most persuasive arguments.  I told them that they knew what the rule was, but their mom and I would discuss it.

Cathy and I chatted about it.   Their cousins had travelled quite a distance.  My daughters were doing well in school, but I didn’t want them to go to school tired.  What to do?   There were seemingly good arguments on both sides.  So, like the cell phone, and as silly as it sounds, we made it a matter of prayer.

The answer to our prayer was, “Yes, they should be allowed to have a sleep-over with their cousins over at grandma’s house.”

Cathy and I didn’t get angry that they asked us a question.  We did not question whether or not they were faithful daughters of ours.

Cathy and I didn’t feel that our authority was in jeopardy because an idea, that was contrary to our rules, had been proposed by our daughters. We don’t see our ability to divinely lead the family was somehow diametrically opposed by our daughters bringing us questions.

Matthew 7:7 reads:

“Ask and I will become angry…knock and I will question your loyalty to me.”

Oh, wait.  That’s not what it says at all, is it?  Silly me.

Miguel is a Guatemalan-American Mormon living in the Northwest with his family. He is one of the proprietors of the Rational Faiths blog.

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