Making or Becoming Different

Young people today (as have young people of all times) have the courage and enthusiasm necessary to "change the world" forever. These attitudes are the unique contribution of our generation, but we do not always use them wisely. Many young people choose rebellion against all social norms as their method for changing the world around them, but rebellion does not bring the satisfaction they seek. Rather, rebellious children grow into selfish, unfulfilled adults who then attempt to force their own disillusionment on following generations.

There is a proper way of harnessing the energy of today's youth to make this world a better place; it does not consist solely in making the world different, but rather in becoming different ourselves. We must take responsibility for the change. Following the cultural norms for adolescents will not achieve this goal, nor will rebelling against all cultural institutions; but there is a way. We must be visionary and do hard things (as Alex and Brett Harris advise us) by becoming the change this world needs. Making and becoming different are actually the same thing in this case because becoming different is the only way to make a difference.

Choosing Change through Rebellion

Rebellion is the act of mentally or physically defying the expectations an individual or society has set for one. Although rebellion is normally bad, this is not always the case. God said through Samuel in I Sam. 15:23 that "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft."
Clarifying the definition of sinful rebellion as defiance of the expectations God has set for us frees us from obligations to follow the rest of society. In fact, there are certain classes of people who must disobey the traditional social conventions of their set in order to follow God. Most of these conventions have resulted from the low expectations modern philosophy has set for humans in general.
Defying low expectations takes special courage and watchfulness. It takes courage to reach for a higher goal when everyone around you is sitting in mediocrity and is content to let you do the same.
Making the decision to follow God, even in defiance to others' expectations, raises the bar considerably. Not only are you measuring against a higher standard—God's standard—but you are also an example to those around you of what it means to follow God. That is a grave responsibility, and it requires constant watchfulness to maintain godliness.
Alex and Brett Harris have written the books Do Hard Things and Start Here. The rebelution resulted: a movement that they define as "a teenage rebellion against low expectations." Teenagers and young adults, however, are not the only ones who must rebel against society's expectations in order to follow God. Adults must rebel by living within their means and not trying to keep up with the Joneses, by being faithful to their obligations. Men must rebel by being strong men, taking the strong leadership role God has given them, and leading with God's will and consideration for his family at the forefront of his mind. Women must defy social convention in order to seek God's best by submitting themselves to a godly husband, keeping the home, and raising children who will seek to follow God in spite of contrary social expectations. Redheads are expected to be hotheaded. Whites are expected to be prejudiced against non-whites. Blacks are expected to be lazy and hostile. Living for God means having the faith, courage, and watchfulness to rebel against low expectations set for us, looking only to God's will for our validation and fulfillment.

The Proper Education for Choosing Change

"'The great Irish poet William Butler Yeats has said that true education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.' What does this mean to you?"--Professor Filiatreau quoting Dr. Steven Hake, "A Burning Flame" (lecture, Patrick Henry College, 2006)
With the use of these two metaphors, Yeats encompassed the whole of two scholastic philosophies that are diametrically opposed. Those who view education as merely the filling of a bucket educate only because they believe it is the duty of young folks to learn and, therefore, teaching falls to their elders. This rather shallow view of education results in disgruntled student body who considers high school a drudgery and college an escape from the reality of adult life. It is no wonder the young feel a lack of purpose and a lack of discipline that leads to vague discontentment. They have been fed facts and figures that they are "supposed to know," but have never been taught the joy of learning or the purpose, the use to which their acquired knowledge should be put.
In contrast, those educators who espouse Yeats's view concentrate on lighting the fires of passion and purpose in the souls of their pupils. For without purpose and passion, we cannot fully experience the joys and blessings inherent within personhood. Yes, the second group of teachers fills their students' heads with the same dull data. In fact, they are able to cram much more knowledge into the same space by teaching their students to think and enjoy learning. Not only do their students have the necessary knowledge, but they also have the necessary character, logic, and discernment. In short, they have the wisdom necessary to fulfill their purpose for being. It is no wonder, then, if the twin fires of passion and purpose burn higher, wider, and longer than their early mentors could ever have imagined.
The proper education is important to our ability to choose the proper changes. Without the wisdom gained from a good education, we could not know whether the changes we made would be good or bad. So let us have a passion for learning and for improvement!
Note: This post has been modified from a discussion board post completed in 2011 for credit through Patrick Henry College, by Leticia Ash.

Change in Living Your Story

You know, I was just sitting here knitting and thinking when I realized that there is never a finished story in my mind. It seems that every story, every book, every life I have ever heard about--no matter how satisfying the ending is--there is more to the story.  I always want more; I imagine more; I see more; I feel more.

I remember when I heard Call of the Wild, by Jack London; it was the first book for which I wanted to write a new ending. The story was just too final. The dog (I cannot even remember his name now) died--and it was not supposed to end that way! He was supposed to win. He was supposed to conquer. However that came about, it wassupposed to happen. It was not just that it was a sad ending.

Even  with happy endings, they are not really the end. When I read Anne of Green Gables the first time, I read all of the books I had (ending with Anne and Gilbert's marriage); but it was not the end. A while later, I read about their children when they were small; and it still was not the end. I wanted to hear what happened when their children grew up, who they they found and fell in love with themselves, who they married. Then I read Rilla of Ingleside when they are all growing up and getting married--or dying--and it still was not the end.

I wanted more--because, in real life, there is more. Even for those who die, there is more. That is not the end of their story. They go on, and their souls live eternally. Whatever works they have done or families they have live on after they are gone. For those who continue living after "the story" has ended, there is definitely no ending to the story.  They are still living, growing, changing!

Now we come to the reason I am blogging about my thoughts here. There is always some change to be made.  It may not be drastic--most changes aren't--the good changes aren't; but it is necessary. Everybody needs to continue growing and changing--and living!--until they die. Living does not happen without growth and change, and that is just all there is to it.

So let us all continue living, growing, making choices, taking responsibility, choosing the paths that will us to greater wisdom and more abundant life (John 10:10 KJV) here on earth and in the life to come.  Nothing is impossible--except having an ending to your story because God's story for you never ends.  That is the happiest thought I know.

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