Friday, August 30, 2013

Dear children, be total rebels!

Dear Child of Mine,

I am writing this letter to encourage you to be an all-out, no-holds-barred rebel.
A person who doesn't give a second thought about someone else's judgement.
A person who defies the entire world and walks their own way.
A person who is startling brave about being different in every way.
I want you, my child, the work of my life, to be the best rebel that you can be.

I want you to be the ultimate outsider. 
A leader who needs no followers.
A person that doesn't just march to a different beat, but to an entirely different drum.

I look back on my childhood and everything I did to try to be a rebel and then I take a moment to snore at myself. 
I wasn't rebelling. I was picking up the playbook and following it word by predictable word.
I was doing everything possible to be exactly like every idiotic person around me.
I was not a rebel. I was a lemming.

But you- I want more for you. No running over a cliff into the cold, raging ocean for my child.
You are in every way too awesome for that.

Pierce everything?
Curse like a sailor?
Parade yourself as sex object?
Spend eight hours on youtube laughing at morons?
Get drunk with your friends?
Shoplift something you didn't even want from Walmart?

Snooze fest.
Cookie cutter of every 
wannabe who tried to be a rebel.
If you did everything on that list
 it would make you like millions of other kids.
You are describing a coward. 
Someone so scared to be different
 they go straight to the middle of the pack
 where they get trampled.

You don't fit that box.

A rebel shocks people.
A rebel is something they are not expecting.
Something they can't stomach or accept.

I look at the people around me and I see the rebels. I notice them.
They stand up in a crowd, never knowing if anyone else will stand with them, and say what they believe.
They don't laugh and nod at a story that makes them uncomfortable. They express an opinion.
You know, an opinion is one of those things that brave people, and only brave people have, even when it is monumentally inconvenient.
They don't spare themselves ridicule or take the easy way.
A rebel believes in something.
A rebel stands out from the world.

Today a rebel is a young man or woman who puts down his/her phone and talks to someone who looks lonely.
A rebel is a student in a class who asks a questions when they don't understand because they want to be smart.
Or who answers a question when the protocol is to look bored and make the teacher feel stupid.
You want to see a rebel? Find me a young person who respects his parents. Find me one who helps at home. Who protects his siblings. Who serves his community.
Find me a kid who isn't in bed holding his phone, but kneeling beside his bed saying a prayer.
Can you imagine the stares? If people knew?!
Can you imagine the faces of teenagers if one of their friends said, "I love my family. My parents are great."

A rebel today is a clear face, intelligent eyes, and hands busy with meaningful work.
A rebel is someone who questions their motives, examines their heart, and tries to do what is good, even when it feels very bad.
A rebel believes that they have control over their life.
A rebel owns their choices.
A rebel doesn't care what they are handed- only what they make out of it.
A rebel won't be a victim.

Dear Child of Mine,
I've trained you to be one thing. From the time you were little and I wouldn't let you watch the Disney channel because I didn't want you to learn to sassy and sarcastic.
Since the moment I told you that I knew everyone else was going to the skating party but we were still going to church.
Or that you couldn't wear a short skirt even if every other girl had one.
I was giving you the tools to be a rebel.
Not a shallow, stupid, rebel wannabe.
A real one.
A strong one.
A life-changing one.

And then in kindergarten, when you left the pack of cheerleaders to walk with the girl who had Spina Bifida because you didn't want her to walk alone, and it took so long to get around the block that all the popsicles were gone by the time we got back to the school parking lot, I knew what I had on my hands.

A rebel.
You go, Child of Mine. You show 'em. 
They will laugh at you, exclude you, pick you apart, and in the end-
wish they were you.
My rebel.


  1. Love it! Yes! I want all of my children to be the right kind of rebel!

  2. This made me cry. This is exactly what I hope for my kids.

  3. I love this. This is exactly what I want for my nieces and nephews and everyone I love. Thanks for writing this :-)