family · Kids · Parenting

Rebels with a cause

Herbie and I visited London just before Christmas to see the Marvellous and Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels exhibition at the British Library with my brother and his husband.

It made me ponder just how tricky it is to teach our children to be rebellious yet respectful, to challenge authority yet understand boundaries and to stand up for what is right when it sometimes means breaking the rules.

There’s no simple answer, all we can do is try our best to encourage concern for ourselves, others and our environments, acceptance of differences and the ability to address prejudice.

Children can teach us a lot about resilience and adapting to change, two things that they can often do better than adults.

As adults, we tend to forget that change can sometimes be slow, but that does not mean it is ineffective. Things do not stay the same, however much we think they are static and that we can have no effect on anything.

I think we move forwards, more than we move backwards, but that is only because people believe they can make a change, and that nearly always means rebelling against convention, which is constantly in flux, precisely because we challenge it.

Embracing change, therefore, is one of the most important things we can teach our children in how to be an effective rebel, because the world is always moving on.

Marvellous and Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels is on at the British Library until 1st March 2020. It’s free but you need to pre-book. It’s a small display so only takes about half an hour to look round. Good if you are on your way to somewhere via Euston!