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!

Written by : drallisonbrown

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14 Comments

  1. Sara Beth July 17, 2017 at 1:48 am - Reply

    Hi, Allison.

    You rebel, you.

    I was a compliant child until I had children.

    It’s when I entered adulthood that my rebellious nature kicked in.

    This wasn’t always a good thing but was a dramatic period as I held so much inside growing up.

    Children ask why all the time, it’s natural to be curious.

    I think, when you ask why out of spite or as a way to start an argument or to get out of doing something, (divert the conversation) then that is rebellious.

    Wanting to know why isn’t a bad thing but sometimes you just need to trust the leader’s intent (your goodwill) and just do it.

    In war, if all the soldiers asked why when given an order it would be chaos. Sometimes there just isn’t any time to explain.

    Although I agree “Ask Why” and “Question your leaders” is a good thing, trusting your leaders have your best interest in mind, is also true.

    I guess I’m for wise why’s. ^_^

    • drallisonbrown July 17, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

      Hi Sara! Yes, soldiers definitely need to follow orders first (and ask questions later). I like the phrase “wise why’s!” Be sure to check out my next blog (I post every Sunday night) for the follow up to this one…you’ll see where I’m going with the “why..” :)

  2. Doug July 20, 2017 at 12:24 am - Reply

    Asking questions is a great way to help someone else better understand where they are at in their thinking and understanding.
    I am guessing you have found other ways to reframe the “Why” question.
    I can imagine the young child who always asks the why question.
    What are your thoughts on answering a question with a question?
    Now do you remember the exam questions in school that ask a simple question then follow it with the devastating word “Why”

    • drallisonbrown July 20, 2017 at 7:59 am - Reply

      Hi Doug, yes I think there are times when answering why with a question is beneficial, especially with children who are trying to learn. Giving it back to them can help them stop and think things through on their own instead of having the answer provided to them. In regards to adults and their personally held beliefs, tactfully asking why can help someone clarify their position. Sometimes I think we really don’t know why we believe what we believe. We sort of absorb the opinions of those around us without fully contemplating the issue. You made a good point.

  3. Ritu Bhathal August 19, 2017 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Why? A question sometimes we dread as parents and teachers even… but the world of possibilities the answer can open us to!

    • drallisonbrown August 19, 2017 at 9:03 am - Reply

      Exactly, Rita! If we are confident in ourselves, we need not fear that question!

  4. Brenda August 19, 2017 at 8:34 am - Reply

    I have no problem asking why if I am interested or unsure of something. You are so right if someone is angry over “why” there is likely something else going on. This is how we get a different perspective – thanks for putting this out there.

    • drallisonbrown August 19, 2017 at 9:02 am - Reply

      Brenda, you are right… that’s exactly how we share different perspectives, but it seems lots of people are not interested in other perspectives :)

  5. arv! August 19, 2017 at 10:37 am - Reply

    I feel that in general our society prefers stereotypes. Anything that differs is considered as absurd and unwanted. your post really helps to set the vision on right path

    • drallisonbrown August 19, 2017 at 2:11 pm - Reply

      You are so right! Stereotypes are sneaky…we sometimes do it without realizing.

  6. Heidi Love March 8, 2018 at 7:05 am - Reply

    Thank goodness for rebels and wild children who keep their inner child alive. And yes—they are the ones to change the world.

  7. David Robertson March 8, 2018 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Because it is, that’s why!
    A stock answer to my brother in law when I tried to teach him maths.

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