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“If you really want to rebel against your parents…”

Henry Rollins said “If you hate your parents, the man or the establishment, don’t show them up by getting wasted and wrapping your car around a tree. If you really want to rebel against your parents, out-learn them, outlive them, and know more than they do.” When I read that, it really hit me pretty hard.

I always wanted to stick it to “the man.” As far back as I can remember I was riding my skateboard around my town listening to whatever punk cassette tapes I could get my hands on through my dollar store Walkman. Not too much has changed.

I’m not sure if I turned my back on society or it was the other way around, but much of my youth was spent waving the punk rock banner while getting chased by jocks, rednecks, and crooked cops.

This seemed like a pretty viable lifestyle until I had my own kids. Though I would never turn my back on the values that made me who I am, it’s funny to watch those values evolve and change as I grow myself into this parent role.
I love that my oldest daughter has a rebellious streak. She is a natural born leader and isn’t afraid to (metaphorically) put her middle finger up at the norm.

The hard part about being a parent is when that rebellion gets turned on you. I have suffered through it when my daughters eyes gaze at me like I am a part of the world that she despises, the people that don’t understand her, “the man.” It’s all part of the cycle though, and being a parent means working through it with them.

Usually those moments are pretty short-lived, but it’s tough to encourage a child to keep questioning everything and stick up for herself; especially when you become the target of her questioning. This quote from Henry Rollins really resonated with me as I spent much of my youth really rebelling against nothing but myself. I was an angry and confused kid and was on a path of nihilism instead of rebelling for the right reasons and in the right ways.

A rebel without a cause. Hindsight is 20/20 but it’s amazing to be able to view the world as a parent; many things make so much more sense, some things make even less sense and the best we can do is hope our kids turn out alright with us as their guide.

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