Lacey Smith

Why rebellion is a good thing

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Rebellion. It’s a term parents, teachers, cops and others with authority dread. Typically, rebellion is applied to children, teens and young adults.

By the time we have been through the system, rebelled and been put in our place, moved out on our own (often for college) and realized how unproductive rebellion can be, we emerge on the other side to enter the real word as fully reformed, responsible adults who hold real jobs, marry, raise children and look back at our youthful rebellion as lessons learned.

At least I think that’s what’s supposed to happen.

I, myself, have never gotten past the rebellion stage. Perhaps it’s because by the time I got into the system I was too old to be put in my place. My mother teases she should’ve squashed us when we were little, but each of her children are very much their own people, due largely to her “wings mommy” style of mothering.

In fact, my mom’s favorite word just might be “why?” and asking that question is, often, itself a form of rebellion.

So I never learned not to be rebellious. I have learned to temper my rebellion and channel it, but I am still a rebel, through and through.

And that is a good thing.

Rather than squashing our children’s rebellion, instead of teaching them to speak only when spoken to and respect teachers just because they are teachers, we should encourage directed, respectful rebellion and teach them to think critically. We should teach them to stand up to authority when authority is wrong and give them the skills to know when that is.

Without rebellion, we are all just lemmings. We do what we do because someone – our parents, a teacher or principal, a church leader, the government – told us to. We don’t do things because we thought it through for ourselves (i.e. reason). That is a form of rebellion.

Many of the great events of early America – the Boston Tea Party, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution – along with hundreds of thousands of acts throughout religious and civic history that fundamentally changed the world were acts of rebellion.

We must not be so afraid of judgment or political incorrectness nor so respectful of authority that we lose all sense of rebellion. Rebellion created America and is part of what protects it.

Rebellion is the heartbeat of America. It is time to remember that and return to our rebellious roots. Rebellion is the way to save America.

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  1. I’m not sure how much time you have for extra reading, but thought you might like this new biography I’m reading. It’s called Einstein by Walter Isaacson. Not really political, but seems to have a recurring theme of “rebellion” or Einstein’s characteristic lack of deference for authority. I’m only about 100 pages in (of a quite lengthy book), but its pretty good so far, and easy to follow even for non-scientific people like me.
    If you get a chance, give it a look, I think you might like identify with it.

  2. Rebellion is a good thing, it’s about freedom. As with my morals, those are the only rules, I’m conscious, I follow, I don’t follow rules from authority.

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