Have you ever hung out with a baby?
Perceived by many to be helpless bundles of wiggly sweetness….I bet you never considered the immense power they actually wield over the “oohers” and “aaahers”.
Baby cries…and gets cuddled, and soothed. Fusses….those diapers are changed right away. Squawking means “feed me!!…..stat!” Mothers and Fathers and caregivers rush…..panic-stage 2. Stage one began immediately at time of delivery. From that moment forward, the mere anticipation of inevitable alarm cries, set in motion the “walking on eggshells” state of mind.
…..all the while feeling like this!
Panic-stage 2…… a frequent occurrence, is the proof of the power I speak of.
Innate abilities to control the entire environment, and the will to decide, dictate and deliver thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Actions are deliberate, and apparently unphased by attempts at correction or redirection.
Have you ever told a toddler not to climb on, touch or open something?
Response: Defiance in it’s purest form, plus repeated offenses. A smile and piercing eye contact just daring you to kick it up a notch…..a completely natural phenomenon.
Humans are born unique individuals. A genetic blend of strengths, abilities, traits, interests….personality, temperament and more….we arrive full of potential, and destined for plentiful opportunities.
2 and 3 years old, so sure of who we are and what we want. We go boldly into each day…..climbing out of our cribs, crawling with conviction towards danger…no fear, no regrets….
…..and then it happens….
The result of societal “norms”, expectations and standards…..our well-meaning parents and teachers and community leaders push and pull us in directions that make our existence work for them, and leave things running as smoothly and as hassle or conflict free as possible.
Little by little, our individuality slips away and we begin to comply, conform and compare ourselves to others, to reach for pre-set standards of achievement and to blend in and disappear. Years go by and we robotically “do what we gotta do” to fit in, get by and survive…..as peacefully as possible and avoiding punishment as best we can. School, work, social situations…..all pre-programmed environments in which expectations of thought, feeling and behaviour are the basis to which someone says we fit in, or we don’t.
Rebellion persists naturally in some, like me, beyond the toddler years. Even as a young child, I questioned the rules and regulations and challenged those around me to explain. All I wanted was a reason…the answer to “why?”
That universal question kids have been asking since the beginning of time.
Some grow out of it. Conforming and subsequently suppressing the urge to know “why” to find out more, to explore life for themselves. It’s just easier this way. To just be.
It has been my experience though, in observing and taking careful note of humans of all ages and circumstances, that at some point…the break, the apex, the turning point……does come. It may come nonchalantly…..with an individual style of dress or adornment, choice of entertainment or recreation. It may come decisively, as someone choosing to major in art, or philosophy or business in order to foster innate strengths or interests. Sometimes it arrives after years and years….after hitting the wall, breaking down and starting all over again from the bottom…nowhere to go but up.
Regardless…..it comes..and rightfully so. Our human superpowers of resilience, righteousness and rebellion all come flooding back to us….
The difficulty in this often unacknowledged right of becoming yourself, in living true to your individual hopes and dreams and interests is that no one really cares about who you really are. All that matters is that you are going with the flow, not making waves…not challenging the “normal order of things”. Our system and our society is simply not set up to take the time and the consideration to see each other as who we really are. With labels and lack of funds, deadlines and conformity leading the surge into the future…..so many are left scoffed at, ignored or lost in the shuffle.
Empowerment of individuals terrifies this pre-programmed system.
How dare you defy us you ungrateful brat? Why can’t you just contribute to society?
With the costs of living and obtaining postsecondary education rising drastically…we are either forced to tolerate and find false contentment in doing whatever we have to do to survive…..or we are forced to fight!
Enter “righteous rebellion”.
It is your right to fight for who you are and what you need, to become an empowered and productive individual.
Assuredness in self and purpose, makes for compassionate and giving people.
In the daily grind, as we trip and stumble in our quest to keep up….we lose sight of what is happening to us within, and of what is going on all around us. Suffering through, or denying our own pain, leaves us little time to consider the struggles of others. Of children and families and entire communities….
For circumstances to change…we must become aware of, educate ourselves about and commit ourselves to acting out…..to partaking in righteous rebellion.
Waging peaceful protests against homelessness, poverty or abuse of others in our own communities or countries, by bringing awareness to these issues and advocating for those who are suffering, is a start. Volunteering at shelters or soup kitchens or schools or community centers is action.
Writing tactful messages and voicing our concerns to government, leaders, teachers and others, which state how inconsistencies in standards of living, and inequity of opportunity, oppress and degrade our families and friends and neighbours……is forcing changes in attitudes and awareness.
This is righteous rebellion.
Advocating for those who have been “labelled” outside of the “norm”…..and making standards of living, and accessibility….opportunity and resources, possible, and available to all…..these are the humanitarian wars we must wage.
Can you believe that we have to fight for these issues?
Neither can I. But we do…..and we must.
Righteous rebellion is our right. Sure. We are berated and scoffed at, and made to feel as if it is us….the cause of the ills of society……
But where would we be without it?
Rosa Parks. Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi. Nelson Mandela. Oskar Schindler. Emily Pankhurst. Susan B. Anthony. Malala Yousafzi. Benazir Bhutto. George Orwell. Helen Keller. Rick Hansen. Aung San Suu Kyi. Roxana Saberi.
This list names only a tiny fraction of those who fought for the rights and freedoms of others…..and they did so peacefully. With grace, and tact and diplomatic open-mindedness.
There is no progress, no assistance for those who are suffering or who have been forgotten…without righteousness rebellion.
Stop and listen. Look and learn. Move forward in peace and goodwill….and fight for your rights and those of others. Realize your own passions, and strengths, and interests and find out how you can offer your individual abilities towards changing things for the better for yourself, and others.
The world is waiting for you!!
Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. Helen Keller
For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. Nelson Mandela
When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful. Malala Yousafzi