As a kid, I was usually quite well liked by elders. You see, I have always been nice and cute and smart. People tend to like that in kids.
However, as I grew older and smarter, I found that there were a couple of aspect of my personality that seemed to prick certain grown-ups.
You see, I was always an inquisitive kid. When someone would tell me something, or ask me to do something a certain way, I thought a very reasonable response was, “Why?”
At that age, it is bizarre to think I would not have actually intended to challenge the authority of the aforementioned elders. What kid ever thinks that way?
Now, as a few more years passed, this habit of mine evolved to the next level.
Now, not only was I completely unafraid of asking “Why?”, I was also assertive enough in the face of their floundering responses to say, “No.”
Needless to say, such behaviour was not without its consequences. Some parents believed I was a bad influence on their kids. Some teachers may have been convinced this disobedience needed to be flogged out of me, but corporal punishments were not in vogue anymore, and juvenile attempts at public shaming had to suffice.
I have always hoped people would look at this with equanimity and ask themselves who is a worse influence on impressionable minds: a child who seeks to understand before he obeys, and thereby chooses to disobey if he disagrees, or a supposed ‘grown-up’ who cannot even defend his beliefs to the aforementioned child, and thereby sees him as a threat.
“Inevitably it follows that anyone with an independent mind must become ‘one who resists or opposes an authority or established convention’: a rebel…
And if enough people come to agree with—and follow—the REBEL, we now have a DEVIL.
Until, of course, still more people agree. And then, finally, we have… GREATNESS.”
― Nicholas Tharcher, Rebels and Devils: The Psychology of Liberation
The times have changed, since. We are the grown-ups now. It is time for us to shape the world we have inherited.
“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Do we want our children to stay silent, or do we want them to speak out?
It is now for us to decide.