Why? (or, rebelliousness as a virtue)

One of my favorite questions is “Why?” Unfortunately, people don’t really like that question. Educators are not supposed to ask “why”…they are just supposed to DO. Bosses don’t like, “why,” either. Believe it or not, they find it confrontational. Husbands are frequently annoyed by “why.” Especially when there is no easy answer (sorry, Bill).

In this world, people who ask “why” can seem like a royal pain in the ass. Yep, that’s me! I’ve earned a reputation as a bit of a rebel. I don’t do stuff just to do stuff. I must know why. I need to understand. And, truth be told, I’ve occasionally beaten myself up over it. “Why can’t I just be quiet and go along?”

One of the most liberating things I ever heard – a moment that helped me reconcile with my inner rebel – occurred at a leadership training for school counselors, hosted by the SC State Department of Education (SDE). Every other month or so, over the course of a year, I trekked to Columbia for a day-long training session put on by various SDE “Big Wigs.”

One day, a guy stood before us and said

Wait, what? Did I just hear this state department guru tell us he doesn’t mind being asked, “Why?”

Holy Smokes! That was life changing…no lie. Here is this guy, who had been a teacher, principal, district level administrator and who now worked at the SDE telling us that, yes, you SHOULD (respectfully, of course) question your administrators.

He went on: “If your principal can’t (or won’t) explain the rationale behind what they are requiring of you, OR, gets angry when you request a rationale, it’s either a bad program or the principal doesn’t understand it well enough to explain it to you.”

At any rate, this was a huge turning point – a validation of what I had come to view as my inner rebel. Wanting to know “why” or to understand things isn’t really rebellious, per se. However, given the way the world reacts to those who ask questions or challenge authority, we learn to view ourselves as a troublemaker. So, now, I’ve actually come to appreciate this side of myself. What’s more, I think it serves a purpose.

For example, it was in the questioning of my religious leaders (and their subsequent anger) that I was thrust out of the confines of my conservative Christian upbringing and into the loving arms of Spirit. It was in this seeking…in the refusal to let fear govern my spiritual growth, that I discovered Reiki, created this blog, and got to work on a book designed to help others navigate the journey out of their own box.

Yes, there is something to be said about being the compliant child. But, the strong-willed child is just as valuable, and THEY are the ones who will change the world. So, honor your inner troublemaker! Embrace your rebelliousness! And then take a moment to share with others how this manifests in your own life. I’d love to hear your stories!