Planting seeds of rebellion
Teenagers, I challenge you to rebel.I’m not talking about sneaking cigarettes from adults or going to beer bashes in the desert.And I’m not talking about driving fast, raising hell, taking life-threatening chances.That stuff’s boring.The activities that too often have been glorified as “youth rebellion” really aren’t that rebellious. To repeat, it’s boring because it’s all been done before. You really want to thumb your nose at authority?First off, start questioning your teachers. That’s right. If something they’re teaching you doesn’t sound right, call them on it.Now before every instructor in your school district joins forces to hang me by my toes from the flagpole, let me clarify what I mean when I say “call them on it.”I’m not talking about cutesy, snide, boneheaded, redneck remarks tossed out from the back row to get a giggle out of your buddies or girlfriends in class. Once again, that’s boring, and it’s been done – and doing that is simply another setback in the never-ending battle of you teenagers for the respect you believe you deserve (but aren’t getting) in society.This is how you rebel:Listen to what your teacher says in class. If something doesn’t sound quite right, jump online or go to the library and fact check. If you find evidence contrary to what they’re teaching you, call them on it.Trust me, the good teachers I’m associated with wouldn’t get upset at a kid offering evidence contrary to what they’ve said. The good teachers will probably want to give that student a hug. (But forget I said that, because a hug from a teacher is oh-so “unrebellious.”)Moving on to another rebellion tip.You know those meatheads who give other kids a hard time – picking on those who are physically smaller and weaker than they are? Stand up to them.Stepping out of your comfort zone and sticking up for those who need help … now that’s rebellion.Some of the greatest rebels in the history of this country – of this world – stood up for those who were scorned, ridiculed and abused by the strong and powerful.If poking holes in teachers’ teachings or standing up to the school jerks seems a bit daunting for starters, step back and take baby rebellion steps.Try writing a letter to the editor.That’s right, page through this very newspaper, find something that frustrates you and feel free to write in and tell me how big of an idiot I am. Wait, better yet, write the Sentinel and tell them how big of idiots they are … I like that idea even better.A letter to the editor, be mindful, is just a start down the road to rebellion.If you consider rebellion snubbing your nose at the mainstream and standing in a corner by yourself complaining, have at it. Just know that changing the world with that approach is probably going to take you awhile.You need to hook up with other rebels.Does joining an existing school club not seem rebellious? Then don’t join one. Start your own club, any club. Form one in the name of your favorite video game, or snowboarding. Recruit like-minded people to share in your passion instead of trying to fit into someone else’s.But just being involved isn’t enough.Are you up on the issues?If you don’t know or don’t understand what’s going on, you don’t know what to rebel against.So pay attention.Are the computers in your school outdated? Find out why. Are there so many people in your class that the teacher doesn’t even know your name? Find out if the school board’s to blame, or the state legislature.There’s an issue or two outside of school you might be interested in, too.Do you hate the war in Iraq? Or do you hate those protesting the war in Iraq?Does it make you mad that some people say you should be allowed to pray in school? Does it make you mad that some people say you shouldn’t?Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle. For those of you who are, you might figure out how to rebel from the middle. Once you do that, teach the adults in your life how to do the same. It seems, in this day and age, most of them have a thing or two to learn about doing that.Kids, I hope this doesn’t come across as preachy. Lord knows you all have plenty of people in your lives doing just that. I’m just encouraging you to rebel a bit more.One of the problems with the world today is it doesn’t have enough good rebels.Maybe it’s because rebels aren’t getting started young enough.When I was a teen, I snuck cigarettes, slammed back a few beers and drove around fast on the back roads.Instead of doing that stuff, I wish I’d have been a rebel.Josh Nichols is managing editor of the Grand Junction Free Press.
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