Be (a little) Defiant

This is broad-based advice. It has implications for every situation. How do you relate to us, your family? How do you relate to your larger community? How will you respond to teachers and coaches and leaders? How will you respond to civic authorities and government agents? How will you respond to society’s expectations? How will you respond to the church? How will you respond to God?

Many years ago, I was grieving some significant setbacks relating to our attempts to have children. Out of that grief came the first many entries in what was a long letter to my future son. I have my son now. And I look forward to raising him to answer these fundamental questions and follow these foundational rules. Each individual part can be found here.  

Continued from here

I’m almost positive I’m going to spend the next 18 years regretting this advice – until the perspective derived from age and experience starts to form and you grasp the nuance of it. So, which is worse:

Which is preferable, freedom or ease?

– You’re a little more difficult to parent, but you’re prepared to and expect to live free, or
– You’re easier to parent, but you’re less insistent on living free once you’re on your own?

Which is preferable, freedom or ease?

I’m banking on a few key facts:

– You can’t read yet, so I can drive this strategy carefully before you’re exposed to the full-blown ideas.
– I’m smart enough to explain/demonstrate the nuance in what I’m saying
– You’re smart enough to absorb it in age appropriate doses
– Most importantly, I think I’m right about this.

What’s this controversial, potentially painful advice?

Be Defiant

…towards the right things, in the right context, and with the proper execution.

People who go quietly – non-defiantly – never accomplish anything.

I also realize that riskiness of telling you to be defiant and then setting parameters around it. If you take my advice, what’s to stop you from defying my boundaries? I get it. This is, as previously stipulated, risky business.

But I also know that people who go quietly – non-defiantly – never accomplish anything.

This is broad-based advice. It has implications for every situation. How do you relate to us, your family? How do you relate to your larger community? How will you respond to teachers and coaches and leaders? How will you respond to civic authorities and government agents? How will you respond to society’s expectations? How will you respond to the church? How will you respond to God?

The bottom line is this: I want you to develop an insatiable thirst for freedom.

To be free, you have to be defiant against:

– Bad intentions/Bad Ideas
– Bad behavior
– Bad outcomes

You’re going to be bombarded every minute of your life by limitless examples of Bad Intentions and Bad Ideas. Bad intentions will enslave your heart and bad ideas will enslave your mind.

People are just plain awful. Billions of victims testify to the fact. Bad behavior is the norm, unfortunately. Be defiant against any activity by any actor that violates the life, liberty, and property of another person.

The bottom line is this: I want you to develop an insatiable thirst for freedom.

A direct outcome of the bad intentions formulating bad ideas which permit bad behavior is a disappointing acceptance of Bad Outcomes. We’re so compromised by “badness” that our standards are impossibly low. Low expectations are their own sort of slavery. Demand the freedom of excellence.

I’m trying to express in a few words what I’m certain will take a lifetime to train. Despite my best efforts, I’m going to leave out some critical context or forget to offer a crucial disclaimer. Luckily this isn’t the only conversation we’ll have about this. But in the interest of time, let me offer you a few rules and some practical examples of the Defiance I’m hoping to cultivate in you. But first a caution:

Don’t defy God. It won’t work, and he’s the only one who is good. Nothing to defy.

Now some rules/examples:

  1. Parents have incredible power to shape the way their children view themselves and the world. I beg you to defy any harmful ideas I give you (unintentionally) about yourself, your value, your significance, or your ability to do amazing things. I will tell you the truth, and I will fairly and for your benefit critique your actions and decisions – but my intention is always to build you up, not tear you down. You have my blessing to speak truly and bluntly to me if something I say causes you harm.
  2. Your church can generally be trusted to act with good intentions. But a room full of well-intentioned people can still come up with some pretty bad ideas. For your own heart and mind, and the hearts and minds of those around you, defy bad ideas when they present themselves – especially within the body of believers. The people aren’t your enemy. But if good study of scripture, sound theology, and the agreement of wise counsel reveal a bad intention, idea, or behavior, decimate it. Annihilate the weapons the enemy uses to enslave people. Render them useless and silly.
  3. Your government will behave badly. I say this with confidence because every moment the government has existed it has behaved badly. Government is the most evil of all the necessaries. Make your voice heard against real injustice. Don’t get swept up in the momentum of the outrage mob. Those idiots are idiots. But there is real injustice, and I urge you to defy it. Confront your leaders, question authority, fight against bad laws and uneven enforcement of the necessary laws.
  4. Say no to your peers when they have a bad idea or encourage you to do something stupid.
  5. Turn off the voices (TV, music, friendships) that are trying to pollute your mind with filth.
  6. Be the opposition when everyone around you is celebrating evil.

Don’t defy God. It won’t work, and he’s the only one who is good. Nothing to defy.

There will be new lessons to be learned about defiance every day. I’ll do my best to teach them to you. And if you’re sure you’re right, I want you to fight like hell.

Even if it means you’re a little harder to parent. Your freedom is more valuable than my comfort.