Answer these questions to assess your rebel yell. Or kick this stupid quiz to the curb, you Outlaw.
- Do you share the same general belief system as your parents? (Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, etc.)
- Do you feel making good grades is/was very important?
- Do you talk to your parents more than once weekly?
- When considering a new job, are retirement and health benefits high on your priorities list?
- Do you feel awkward going to dinner or a movie by yourself?
- Do you live within 50 miles of where you grew up?
- Do you tend to prefer mainstream TV shows, movies and books?
- Do you always do your best to follow the law? (Speeding tickets don’t count.)
- Are you in the same general line of work as one of your parents? (Business, Tech, Arts, Administration, etc.)
- Do you share the same general political orientation as your parents? (Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc.)
- Are you embarrassed to arrive somewhere, only to realize you are dressed very differently from everyone else?
- Do you feel the attitudes of today’s young people threaten some of your most basic values?
- Do you keep at least three months of salary in your savings at all times?
- Do you always look at the sales rack first, even when you’re flush with cash?
The more “yesses” you answered, the less likely you are to start a rebellion. This isn’t an insult or a compliment. Society needs both rule followers and rule breakers. But “conforming” and “rebelling” can be equally problematic. Both are reactions rather than actions.
Suppose you were raised in the Catholic faith, as were your parents, and their parents and so on. Maybe you follow family tradition and your raise your kids the same way. Nothing wrong with following family tradition, but it does present a risk. Are you letting the choice of a relative who lived 200 years ago determine your spiritual orientation? If this same relative had followed, for example, the Hindu path, would you now be practicing Hinduism? Ironically, the same issue arises in the seemingly opposite situation. If you were raised in the Catholic faith, maybe you rebel later in life, rejecting your parent’s religion. Again, nothing wrong with that in and of itself. But consider: Whether you go with tradition, or you go against tradition, you’re still letting tradition determine your beliefs and actions.
How common is the person who, respectfully keeping in mind the beliefs of those that came before, actually researches the world’s religions (or career paths or political systems or parenting philosophies, etc.) for themselves? Thinking for yourself is a lot of work. And it can be threatening, as calling longstanding family or societal patterns into question can put you at odds with the people you love. Even so, you are the only expert at living your life. What you do, or don’t do, with this expertise is your personal responsibility.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background byclicking here.