Skip to main content

Why I taught my kids to question authority

My generation gets a lot of flak for being “disrespectful” to the older generation.  I have heard them say that it is because we are entitled brats that have been handed everything that we could possibly ever ask for without delayed gratification.  We get exactly what we want when we want it.
While that may be true for some in my generation, it is definitely not the case for the majority.  In fact, I remember my early years and the lessons that I was taught about immediate obedience and unwavering respect for authority.  Especially as little girls raised in the church, we were raised to keep silent and to practice compliance.  Never say “no,” never have an opinion, never talk back, never raise your voice, never question your elder.
And now we have the #metoo movement.  Any coincidence?  I think not.
I can speak from personal experience here.
I have heard the older generation say that we are “disrespectful” when:
  • We speak up
  • We are assertive
  • We have self-determination
  • We say, “No.”
  • We question them
  • We are political
  • We have differing opinions
The list above, however, has nothing to do with respecting another person.  It has everything to do with self-determination.  And self-determination can be done respectfully.
Autonomy and agency are good things.  Very healthy and safe things.  And that means that sometimes our children must question authority, must say no, and must speak up for themselves with assertiveness.
Now, as I stated above, I tried to teach my children to do all of this respectfully.  Maintaining healthy boundaries can be done respectfully. 
I have always taught my sons to think for themselves.  We must all teach our children to think well.  We must teach them to have original thoughts, ponder, contemplate, and speak up for themselves.  We must teach them that we are willing to listen and negotiate if they believe something is unfair.  We must teach them to keep themselves safe.
If we don’t teach them to question and think for themselves, they may learn to follow along blindly or stay silent during critical moments of abuse, which we have seen happen again and again.
And really.  What happens when we hear them out?  What happens when we respect their boundaries, negotiate terms, honor their voice, and hear their opinions?
They learn respect.
until soon,


Popular posts from this blog

What it means when a narcissistic pastor says, "I love the church"

I ran across this article while going through a rough place in my life.  It had profound meaning for me in dealing with some of the individuals in my life that have narcissistic traits. The article highlights the fact that when a narcissist says, “I love you,” he really means that he loves the way that you (fill in the blank): take care of his needs, focus your energy on him, submit, etc. Individuals that have been in relationships with narcissists often admit to feeling crazy, not recognizing the abuse while it was occurring, and to keeping secrets to cover for his abuse, infidelity, etc.  I wonder if this is what many people are recognizing in the #exevangelical movement.  Because as I was going through this article again, I began to realize that many of the narcissistic traits could be applied to the many pastors and men in church leadership that I have known through the years. Being in church ministry for twelve years, I became proficient at silence and lies to cover the behavior…

To "speak the truth in love" does not mean "reprimand"

"...speaking the truth in love..." Ephesians 4:15
Notice the "dot, dot, dot," before and after that phrase?  But how many times have you heard it as a full sentence?  Speak the Truth in love.  As a full sentence, it loses all context.  And how often is this phrase used as an excuse to reprimand another "in love" and tell them about their multitude of sins?
The New Living Translation has a completely different take on this phrase.  It states, "we will hold to the truth in love."  Now, that changes it a bit, doesn't it?  That makes the action about me and not about me acting on another.  
In context, Ephesians 4 is talking about the Body of Christ and how we must work to grow up and mature in the Lord.  "Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe..."  The work is for each of us to grow up and cling to the Lord's love.  
And what Truth are we clinging to?  It is the truth that we are d…

Trauma is like a bee in the sand

My professor was teaching on the power of language- the power words have over us- when he used the example of the beach. He told us to remember the last time we were at the beach. The warm sand, the relaxing sounds, etc...

It took me back to Mazatlan. I left the resort pool and walked down the small steps to the beach where vendors were selling dresses, sunglasses, jewelry. The sand was warm on my bare feet and I walked quietly through the dry sand, my face to the sun, the wind in my hair... When a pain shot up through the ball of my foot into my ankle. I looked down to see a bee still stuck in the flesh of my foot. I was immediately angry. I looked around to see hundreds of bees in the sand. They had built a nest nearby in the base of a rock and a hotel worker was trying to kill them by covering them with sand... Not a great plan.

As I thought about this in class, I remember that it felt offensive. I was enjoying the stillness, the relaxation. True, I stepped on the bee so technical…