By Kenneth Justice
I was sitting at coffee the other day with a forty-something parent of two teenagers who began griping to me about their children’s behavior,
“My daughters are SO rebellious!” she said
Although I can’t go into all the details of the conversation, suffice to say that to this exhausted mother, being “rebellious” constituted listening to music that the parents didn’t approve of, wanting to date boys (gasp! the horror! imagine teenage girls wanting to date boys!) and talking back at the parents in a disrespectful attitude.
The mother was convinced that it was a fact that her teenagers were being rebellious. Yet as is often the case when it comes to family drama, the truth is much murkier than appears on the surface,
—-) I happen to know that this particular family loves watching movies and many of the favorite films of this mother are romance comedies which often involve girls dating boys
—-) I happen to know that this particular woman loves quite a few rock bands and her husband is into old 80’s hair bands
—-) I happen to know that this particular woman does not have a perfect attitude and tone; she often speaks in a less than cheerful attitude toward others
So suddenly, when we look at the context in which these teenage daughters are living; to suggest that they are being rebellious, when really they are nothing more than normal teenagers living in Western society, under the roof of imperfect parents who themselves listen to rock music, watch movies that involve dating and sex, and talk with imperfect attitudes also……the voracity with which the parents believe their children are being ‘rebellious’ seems a bit overreaching.
Some parents want to exert a lot of control over their teenage children and demand total compliance from them even if that compliance is often contradictory to the way in which the parents live their own life. Thus, to suggest that adult children are being rebellious, when in reality they are doing nothing more than imitating the lifestyle of their parent brings into question what the word ‘rebellious’ even means!
The truth is out there but often it is shaded in grey rather than being quite so black or white. There are things that we believe about life, people, government, and society which we cling to as bottom-line facts, but more often than not when we begin looking at these people and situations in different contexts and from alternative perspectives, the truth becomes a lot less stark.
Does this mean we can’t ever know what ‘truth’ really is; not at all. What it does indicate is that we would all be better off being a little less emphatic that we know the truth ‘beyond the shadow of a doubt’ and learn to demonstrate a little bit more grace towards others.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,
Categories: Culture & Society