Toddler Syndrome

Posted by on December 23, 2007

“Can I have some apple juice?” my son Joshua asked.
“Sure,” I responded.
“DAD, HE ALREADY ASKED MOM AND SHE SAID NO!” my older son Johnny yelled.

Yes, Joshua has discovered the fine art of continuing to ask until you get the answer you want.  Dave Barney, a system software director I worked for for a while, called it “toddler syndrome.”  People did it in big technology companies too.  Just keep asking people at all levels of the organization until you find someone who will give the answer you want.  Sometimes even the corporate big wigs would do.  It’s like something out of a Dilbert comic strip:

Corporate VP to software development manager: “Can you get the project finished by the end of this month?”
Software manager: “No, even if we finished today, the testing cycle would last longer than that.”

Corporate VP to software development manager’s boss: “Can you get the project finished by the end of this month?”
Software manager’s boss: “I don’t see why not!”

That got us into a lot of trouble in the computer business.  It gets me into trouble at home too.  “What did you just tell Joshua?”

But it’s most dangerous in our lives as Christians.  People look for churches or small groups or friends who will tell them that whatever they want to do or not do, or to believe or not believe, is OK.  We don’t want to face difficult truths, and today, there is enough variety of belief and practice out there that we don’t have to.

Sometimes that saves us from error or persecution.  Sometimes it lets us continue down paths that harm us and others.

I wish Joshua had been honest with me.  In this case, Mom said no to the request for apple juice because she was taking care of the baby.  It was no problem for me to get the little guy some juice.  But the “toddler syndrome” kept us from getting to the root issue.  I hope more of us can get to that point in our faith too.

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