Disobey

School starts today. Not for my son Austin, though.

I’m finishing writing this at 6am. At a little before 8am, the school bus is going to pull up in front of our house, and because we just got around to notifying the district that we’re not doing the school thing this year, the bus driver won’t know and will honk. I’ll be working. Austin will be asleep. The dogs will go nuts, because the dogs always seem to go nuts when such things happen, generally taking the attitude of, OH NO YOU DIDN’T JUST HONK IN FRONT OF THIS MOTHERFUCKING HOUSE, BITCH.

Then the bus will go away and sometime later Austin will wake up, and we’ll hang out and maybe watch a science show on TV or something. Afterward, we’ll do our normal Wednesday thing, which is going to my gym, then to Target to window-shop the new toys, then to Chipotle for lunch. He’ll spend the afternoon drawing and reading these old, used Mario Bros books I got for him on Amazon (or possibly browsing the Mario Bros wiki — noticing a trend here?). He may play a game with me (I’m working on both The Sims and Sim City), play outside, or opt for some actual Mario Bros on the Wii.

Then, around four in the afternoon, the bus will go past again. And when it does, we’re both going to laaaaaaugh at it. We’re going to think about the people who did what they were told today, and about how every day from here on out, thanks to a defiant little decision we’ve made, we’re going to have a hell of a lot more fun doing our own thing.

I wasn’t always like this.

I used to be a good boy. I really did.

When I was growing up, I always did what I was told. I followed all of the rules; I did well in school; I was home by curfew; I hung out with the other good, rule-abiding kids. I asked for a hall pass before going to the bathroom. I raised my hand before asking a question. I never got into any trouble, never went to the wrong parties, and never ingested the wrong substances.

I graduated first in my class, with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Gave a speech at commencement. Went to college and graduated from there summa cum laude, With Distinction. I wasn’t sure what to do when that was finished, but I did know that the more academic credentials a person got, the better and more fruitful his life would eventually be. So I applied for a grad school fellowship, got it, and began work on a Ph.D.

I followed all the rules that our society gives us, because that was clearly, demonstrably, indubitably the way to achieve a great and successful life. In high school, they even verified that I was on the right path by announcing that I and my friend Gretchen were “Most Likely to Succeed.” We wore suits and covered ourselves in money for the yearbook photo of that accolade, because there was going to be a lot of green in our bright futures.

Out of everyone, I was the most likely to succeed. Me. And you know what? Damn skippy. I’d earned it. Life is hard. You have to work to get what you want, and I was willing to work. I wasn’t going to be one of those lazy people who just kind of let life happen. I was going to make life happen.

So every step of the way, I said to the world, “What should I do?” and the world answered back, “Here’s what you’ve gotta do to have a rocking life… but dude, I should warn you, it’s fucking hard as motherfucking FUCK!” But then I gave this dismissive wave and I was like, “World, bro, it’s cool. I got this. I’m a hard worker. Consider it rocked.”

So I worked. And I worked. I had been given guidelines, so I proceded through them. The exact recipe for awesomeness, I followed it. The exact steps to take for a rockstar life, I took them.

But, to my surprise, a few years later I found myself in that Ph.D. program and was starting to lose my mind, and so I said, “World, dude, that path sucks.” The world said, “Okay, try this,” and I retooled my efforts and worked hard again, following the plan and the steps again, in a different direction this time, and found myself working hard for mediocre pay and mediocre rewards, doing mediocre work that bored me but that I felt I shouldn’t complain about. But still I’d say, “World, man, this is hardly the high life. When do the fireworks start?” And the world said, “Keep working.” And so I did.

Eventually, after more work and more waiting and more doing of the mediocre work that bored me but that I felt I shouldn’t complain about, something happened that wasn’t supposed to happen. Suddenly, as the economy tightened, all of my clients all began to fold or just stop using me. And what was worse, it happened at the same time as my extracurricular real estate investments began to eat me alive.

I stopped worrying about the rockstar life I was promised and decided that simply surviving would be pretty damn rockstar in the short term. I would have been happy simply treading water, but that didn’t happen. Instead, things got worse. Clients receded even more, then vanished. No new clients were forthcoming. The real estate thing got bad. Very bad. Values plummeted. Tenants didn’t pay, then destroyed the properties. The city, desperate for money, turned on its property owners and assessed more fees, more fines, more taxes. Someone would set the garbage out a few hours early and I’d get a bill for $150. The city would decide the grass was a tad too long on one of the postage-stamp-sized lots and would cut it for me, then send me a bill for $600 or more, no exaggeration. The spiral began.

I entered a few years of constant panic, always worried about what was going to happen next. It was terrible, and totally unanticipated. None of this was supposed to happen. None of this was in the plan. I couldn’t sleep. I was having panic attacks. I earned much less than I was spending, and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

When I asked the world how long I could expect this to go on for, the world was like, “BWAAAAAHAHA… suck-er!

Eventually, the banks decided they were tired of me and kindly asked for their properties back, so one by one, they went. It was a significant defeat. I’d always honored all of my commitments. I’d always paid what I owed. Now I was one of those guys, one of those deadbeats, one of the people who was part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Deal-breaker. Welcher. Pariah.

I waited for financial ruin. I waited to wake up on the street, in a box, begging for change. I waited for someone to show up on my doorstep and toss a bag over my head and carry me away, never to be seen again.

But nothing happened.

The sun rose. Flowers bloomed. People even continued to talk to me as if I weren’t a complete failure, as if they didn’t know or possibly — unthinkably — didn’t care.

Life went on.

I think that’s when I realized that it’s all bullshit.

The truth about rules

Rules, guidelines, and even laws are someone’s opinion about how things should be done. Nothing more.

For example: There is no absolute, must-happen decree that says that if someone steals, he must go to prison. Not in the way there’s an absolute, must-happen decree that says you can’t divide by zero or that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction, anyway. Some people in our society believe that theft is wrong and that those who steal should go to prison, and right now those people are in the majority and have the means to enforce their opinion… but it’s still just an opinion.

Similarly, the predominant opinion right now is that marrying your cousin should not be allowed.

There’s a big consensus of opinion from those at the top that says that if you make X dollars, you must pay Y dollars in taxes.

If the crosswalk light says “Don’t Walk,” the currently stated, recorded, and sporadically enforced opinion is that you shouldn’t cross the street even if there are no cars coming. Same deal with red lights on deserted roads at 3am.

During Lent, Catholics have the opinion that members of their faith aren’t allowed to eat meat on Fridays.

We used to fuck with our Catholic roommate during Lent, trying to determine exactly how specific God’s opinion was about that one. What if you ate something that you didn’t know contained meat? What if you were driving east at 11:30pm and unknowingly crossed into a new time zone right before biting into a cheeseburger? During an airline flight, did God go by departure time, arrival time, or local time when determining the Hell- or Heavenbound nature of your meals?

“What if you’re a butcher,” I remember saying, “and you’re slicing up a side of beef on Friday when a stray bit of flesh becomes airborne and lodges itself in your throat. You begin to choke. You can’t cough it up, but you could swallow it and save your life. What then, when your life is at stake?”

Ridiculous? Sacrilegious? Okay, here’s another:

What if you steal a car… but then sell it to a chop shop and use the money to buy a heart transplant for a kid who was days from death and had no other options?

What if you kill a man who was plotting to shoot up a McDonald’s? What if you commit one murder to prevent a dozen murders?

The “obviously correct” judgment of the law starts to sound more and more like an opinion when a new variable is introduced, doesn’t it?

And okay, these “what if this?” exercises may feel like cerebral game play, but you don’t even need to look to extreme examples to see the tenuous, opinion-based nature of laws. Abortion. Gay marriage. Determining fair use in a copyright infringement case. Every time a law is applied, it is applied as a matter of opinion.

And those are the laws — the biggest and baddest rules we have. So think about the littler rules. Club rules. Social standards. Values. “The way things are normally done.”

Opinions, every one. Yet we live our lives as if they’re immutable truths.

Change the game

Conform to a rule, and good things don’t happen so much as the system plods along, undisturbed. Break one, and you’ll get a reaction. If it’s a big rule, the reaction is big: Arrest. Scorn. Excommunication from the church. If it’s a small rule, the reaction will be small: Criticism. Funny looks. Or simply anticipation of a response that turns out to be nothing at all.

Stimulus, response. That’s all rule-following and rule-breaking — or conformity and nonconformity — is.

As the punk rock thinkers in Operation Ivy once said, “Success is obedience to a structured way of life.”

“Success” means nothing more than playing a certain game well enough to receive whatever high accolades exist within that game. The problem with my early attempts at following “the usual rules” to achieve “the usual success” was that those weren’t the rewards I wanted.

I wanted a different kind of success. Freedom. Happiness. And yes, some money to make the way a bit more interesting. Different rewards, different game. Meaning I’d have to play by different rules — applying different stimuli in order to receive a different response.

The second half of that Operation Ivy quote is, “You can’t ignore the structure because we’re all within its sight.” And it works because it’s a good rhyme, but also because we live in the world of the “normal” — something which I’ll attack in a bit if you’ll hang in there with me — as a people who are not homogeneously normal. Yet the normal world has its rules, and it wants everyone to play by them. And so it tries to enforce them, and it’s up to you to see the system, to recognize that its structure is just opinion, and to act accordingly.

In other words, you can’t ignore the structure… but you can weigh it, measure it, and decide just how disobedient you can get away with being.

You choose

I’m not an anarchist. I’m glad there are laws in place that will prevent people from killing me and taking all of my stuff. I think our society needs order. It needs structure. But it’s wrong to assume that every guideline that rises out of a structured society is right for every person in it. I wouldn’t choose to break many laws, but I would and do choose to not buy into a lot of this world’s bullshit.

Case in point.

The numbers are growing, but our choice to homeschool our son is still an oddity. Unschooling, as a type of homeschooling, is even odder. All of our neighbors send their kids to school. All of Austin’s friends from Kindergarten and daycare before that are going to school. All of my relatives’ kids go to school, and so do the kids of all of my own high school friends. And when we tell any of those people that we’re homeschooling, they assume we’re doing it with textbooks and exercises and chalkboards and worksheets, not games and regular books and discussions and field trips.

Without question, we’re weird in this choice.

And that was a concern for Robin when we first started thinking about this whole homeschooling thing. She knew homeschool kids growing up, and they were always weird.

My response was: “Robin… we’re weird.”

I mean, you read this blog, right? The fact that neither Robin nor I have normal jobs is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m fucking WACKO.

But that’s really not entirely fair. “Weird” sounds bad, but it actually just means that something is outside of the normal nine dots. If the majority does one thing, the outliers who do something else are “weird.”

“Normal” is a consensus, nothing more.

If tomorrow, ninety percent of the world’s population started scooting around on its collective asses while wearing dead raccoons as hats, people who walked on two feet and were visibly raccoonless would be called “weird.”

So before I decide if it’s a problem that my kids may be weird, I have to know what we’re comparing that to. I have to ask what’s normal.

It’s pretty “normal” nowadays for 13-year olds to text each other sex photos. Not everyone’s doing it, but it’s not at all unusual. And come to think of it, 16-year-old virgins are really considered a rarity. Sure, there’s still a lot of them, but usually they take shit for it.

Kids lose their innocence and naiveté early.

Teenagers are difficult and argue with their parents.

Kids party. Kids drink. Kids screw. Kids get into trouble. And I know what you’re thinking: Can’t fight human nature. Kids will be kids, right? Can’t stop it. It’s how they are. It’s totally and completely… normal.

Ah. Ding ding.

I had a good relationship with my parents (and even teachers!) all through my teen years. I didn’t drink. I was totally naive; I once reflected that there were no drugs in our school and whoever I said it to looked at me like I had two heads because it was so ridiculous that I’d missed it.

I was so…. non-normal.

Normal. Ugh.

Normal. Awesome, revered, unassailable and celebrated normal. As if the way we’ve stumbled into living is the way things should be because it’s what everyone has always done. As if the well-traveled path is the best path. As if social proof is an unquestioned and absolute good; as if the fact that five hundred people have used this plumber over that one means that the first is the best. As if doing what the guy in front of you did — which is what the guy in front of him, did which is what the guy in front of him did — is a good strategy.

They’ve done experiments, where a few people will stand in line in front of a door that leads into a building like a post office or a grocery store. The door can be a side door or a back door — an illogical line in an illogical place. But what happens? People stand at the back of the line. And as the line gets longer, more people will stand in it. They could be standing in front of a locked door to a storeroom and they’ll wait for hours, but nobody asks why. People just conform. They figure that if there’s a line, everyone in front of them must know something they don’t.

Mindless conformity is what turns us from humans into sheep.

People have been beaten to death in front of crowds that could easily overtake the attacker. The bigger the crowd, the more likely it is that nobody will intervene. The principle is called “diffusion of responsibility,” and boils down to the pressure for conformity overwhelming the need to act. Any guilt over not acting is shared between the people not acting. You didn’t stand by and watch someone get killed, after all. It was a crowd of 1000. You only stood around to the tune of 0.1% of the incident as a whole.

If your friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump too?

Why do we look to everyone else to see what to do? Why don’t we understand that they’re all as lost and scared as we are? Why do we look at a random consensus, shaped by opinions and powers that drift like dunes, as an absolute truth? If “normal” could change tomorrow, why are we such slaves to it? And where has “normal” gotten us, anyway?

We live in a society that can’t stop pollution or environmental destruction, that can’t raise educational standards, can’t stay healthy and non-obese, can’t balance a budget, has no sense of fiscal responsibility, is in an economic tailspin, and is rife with crime and murder and violence. Most people in this “normal” society of ours begin sitting still in a room for six to eight hours beginning in childhood. They continue that for twelve years and then begin sitting still in a different room for another forty years, at which point they hope to retire and sit still in a chair in front of the TV until they die. Most people prioritize other people’s demands and needs over their own and choose work over fun. Most people choose THINGS over HAPPINESS. Most people spend more time disliking what they’re doing than they spend enjoying themselves.

We work ourselves into a set of financial demands and spend our lives trying to maintain those demands. We’re trained to believe that if we’re having fun, we’re doing something wrong, and kids learn that it’s not cool to be kids, and that they should strive to be as adult as possible as early as possible. We live in a society where it’s strange to show too much joy, where we get love for our failures and are scorned if we’re too successful.

And all of this normality? It’s hereditary. It’s passed from generation to generation to generation, like an obscene and distorted game of Telephone.

If you’re black, you’re judged by the prejudices of generations that came before you. If you’re white, you’re scorned for the actions of your ancestors. If you’re a woman, you’re judged as less-than based on attributes that haven’t mattered since survival depended on the ability to throw a spear. We hate people from other countries because our governments are at war. We’re told X is bad — hate X. We’re told that Y is good — love and consume Y. Someone, somewhere, gives an opinion and we’re all expected to jump, to conform to that person’s view of the world.

All of us, every day, inherit problems we didn’t create. Motherfuckers get greedy with oil, and everything we buy gets a lot more expensive. Motherfuckers get uppity in another country, and we and our friends and family are expected to leave home to fight and die. Motherfuckers make management mistakes in distant offices, and the house of cards collapses, leaving everyone to scramble to make a living and feed our families. Motherfuckers botch a drilling operation in the ocean and fuck up the environment for the rest of us. Motherfuckers go crazy and shoot up a McDonald’s, or a bank, or a school. Motherfuckers do dumb shit, and we have to deal with it. Every day, we’re asked not just to take responsibility for our own actions, but for those of everyone around us. Every day, we’re asked to deal with problems we didn’t consent to create. We’re told to clean up messes we didn’t make. We’re told to toe the line in conditions we had no hand in.

Well FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

I’ll make up my own damn mind, thanks.

You have nobody

You’re on your own, baby. I’m sorry.

Being a good and reasonable person in a good and reasonable and awesome life has nothing to do with following rules. It has to do with assessing rules, and guidelines, and norms, and prejudices, and ways of doing things, and established procedures, and prerequisites, and prejudices, and suppositions, and paradigms, and doing what the Oracle in The Matrix advised one do in the absence of proof or instructions: To make up your own damn mind.

If you’re at least a somewhat rational human being, my guess is that you’re going to find most of the rules we have really do make sense. Don’t murder. Don’t steal. Don’t rape. Don’t beat people up. Don’t be an insufferable asshole.

But if you’re similarly rational, you’re going to realize that some of the rules and norms don’t feel as black and white to you. A few that I decided didn’t jibe: Everyone must be insured, so pay $1200 per month for it. Tattoos are for wackos and frat boys. Never renege on a past choice that is ruining your life.

You have nobody to look to when making these choices. Not in an absolute sense, anyway. Every person you know who has done something one way gives you a piece of data, not a decision. Look to your mentors, parents, friends, and people you respect for input if you must, but then compile that data and make a conscious decision. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

You make your own decisions, and you will face the consequences of those decisions. If you defy rules, sometimes the consequences are big. Sometimes they’re small. Sometimes, there are no consequences at all. And often, often, often, the consequences are not what you think they will be. Those things you think will end your life are not going to end your life.

You create your own reality. So create it already.

Disobey

I’ll proudly be weird, and show others how to do the same. I’ll proudly wave the flag of the minority. I’ll hold a book, hold a torch.

Give me your screw-ups, your freaks, your huddled masses yearning to be fucking awesome.

You don’t have to be an anarchist. Anarchy would suck. But you can look at the rules that you live by. You can look at the standards you’re keeping. You can see if you’re doing what you do because it’s always been done that way, and decide that’s an idiotic way to go through life. You can choose something better.

Tired of being an accountant and want to go to clown college? Fuck it. Be a clown.

Think your kid is suffocating in school? Fuck it. Take him out of school.

Bills killing you and keeping you from sleeping? Fuck it. Stop paying them and see what happens. Would you rather be busted down to a shitty apartment and enjoy your days, or live in an expensive house and hate your life?

Quit that stupid job. Learn that sport that enthralls you. Choose fun over work. Wear that ridiculous hat that you like. Take up ballet no matter what your contractor buddies say. Ask for the date. Commit too early. Do the idiotic. Follow your heart. Try the impossible. Do something crazy.

I live in this world, and I choose to follow most of its rules because I consciously choose not to face what would come from defying them. But I opt out of more and more, as my opting-out muscles grow.

Less stuff. Less TV. Less news and world events. Less bureaucracy. Less indoctrination. More freedom. More fun. More choice. More self-determination.

I live with the rest of you, and I love you guys, but you can’t choose for me any more than you’d want me to choose for you. I’m not ready to be Amish, but I’m going to make my own cocoon within this society as much as I can. My own personal bubble. Like normal society, with a few enhancements. Society 2.0.

There’s a quote that says, “If you can’t win the game, change the rules.”

So change some rules. Decide on your own game, the kind of game you might actually like to win.

And win it.


Comments

  1. Yeah. This. Exactly.

    I was a do-gooder, National Merit Scholar totin’, “Most likely to succeed” kid, too.

    And I stood on the sidelines for a longety long-ass time wondering where that “success” was supposed to be.

    Then I learned, like you, that the “rules” were made by the “winners”. So if I want to be one, I need my own set of rules. Change the game, like you said.

    So my game is called “Lisa wins” – and I do. Not by the standards of the “normal” folks, but by being the best me I can as deemed by me, and those that matter most to me.

    So glad we crossed paths and I got to interview you. So GLAD you and Austin are tearin’ it up today. This post is pure gold for people wanting to be their own guru and chart their own path in the world.

  2. Joey says:

    You have a way of making the irreverent, controversial, and the “non-normal” sound like the only rational life option.

    It’s like you’re the one smart lemming standing next to hundreds of your lemming brethren lined up to march off a cliff. Bullhorn in hand (paw?) you’re shouting “you stupid fucks! make a left turn!”

    That may not make sense…but now I have a hilarious mental image…

    You’re a rockstar. Thanks for this.

  3. Karen Putz says:

    This is how I’m feeling more and more these days– you put it into words.

  4. Lindsay says:

    I was just thinking about rule following last week. We often tend to think of ourselves as either rule breakers or rule followers, but we’d all do better to be rule questioners.

    I recently said F-it to my life in the corporate world to work for myself. The rules or conventional path that I was on with all my fellow “graduated with honors from an Ivy League university” was suffocating. I’m so glad to be free of it and defining my own path.

  5. Clap. Clap. Clap. Clap.

    We decided to homeschool halfway through last year, because we were finally fed up with the crap at their school. Now, with a third kid due in October, my wife doesn’t think she can handle teaching the 8 (almost 9) and 11-year-olds while dealing with a newborn. So we enrolled them at the school down the street.

    After five years of driving several miles to what we considered a “better” school, not going to the one down the street just because it was convenient, we decided to break our own rules. It’s okay to pick the more convenient choice when you’ve got a bunch of non-optional other stuff to deal with.

    So first we break everyone else’s rule for what we should do, then we break our own rule for what we should do. We’re either awesome or stupid.

    • Johnny says:

      I hear you on this. It’s just as dogmatic to stick with a “rule-breaking” choice that doesn’t work anymore than it is to stick with plain old normal dogma about rules being awesome.

  6. Wiga says:

    “and you think you have to want more than you need…
    until you have it all, you won’t be free.”-Eddie Vedder

    I am doing the same thing, getting out and doing what I think is best for myself!
    May be you are happy to see what I am up too!
    Society, you’re a crazy breed!

  7. Mars Dorian says:

    Wow wow wow,

    Your content has become very epic lately, Johnny.

    I always luv the message – both in the way it’s delivered and what it means.

    Let us be proudly weird together 😉

    Keep kicking ass.

  8. RebeccaZ says:

    This isn’t fucking awesome, it’s fucking lazy. You’re talking about yourself and your choices but you speak very little about the individuality of your child. He’s going to do what you say, at this point, because you’re his dad, but, what’s your curriculum, man? A tv show, comic books, Target, and the gym? That’s the life of my toddler. She’s three.

    You should be giving him the world and that included education, socialization, and learning new things. If he wants to do what you do when he’s 18, awesome. Good on him, but …stop thinking about yourself and think about your kid and how to make him awesome. He’s not you.

    • So, socialization to you means sitting in a room with a group of people his age. Wake up. Only in school do you spend most of your waking hours with a group of people selected solely on their date of birth.
      If Austin is out and about with Johnny, I guarantee he is socializing-with real people of all ages.
      My FIVE homeschooled children can hang out with toddlers, teenagers, PhDs, and grandparents, and hold a conversation with any of them.
      And what happens with unschooling is that the kid says, “Hey, how does this work?” (and this could be anything. ANYTHING.) And the parent says, “hmmm, let’s figure that out,” and the child learns to LEARN, instead of just learning a series of arbitrary facts.

    • Johnny says:

      Hey Rebecca,

      Thanks for your comment, and I appreciate your divergent opinion. What kind of host would I be if I encouraged people to question norms and then demanded that everyone agree with my own paradigm?

      But, I think your logic is a bit off here. Let’s examine:

      1. You seem to think that what I mentioned in the article are the sole tactile and mental experiences we’ll be providing. You’re simply wrong about that. It would have been divergent to spend a ton of time talking about our learning plan, but it includes a lot of research, reading, trips to the library and book stores, the planetarium, the natural history museum, the science center, the metroparks (they have a homeschool program), and involvement in at least three different homeschool/unschool groups, one of which is a co-op.

      2. You say that my son is not me. That’s very true. So who is he? Is he you? Is he a schoolteacher? Is he our school’s principal or superintendent? If he’s not me, there are only two other things he can be: someone else (which is looking doubtful), or his own unique person. Saying “he’s not you” implies that I’m forcing him into my mold, but I’d argue that our approach is all about allowing him to be his own person. If you think too much freedom is bad, then your argument is that he should NOT be his own person, but that he should be guided to be someone or something else. And again: Okay, fair enough, if you’re suggesting that he needs guidance and coaching. Any coach or guide will steer the student into something. Your argument seems to be that where I’m guiding him is wrong. That’s not logic. That’s conjecture. My other post on schooling (linked from this one) explains my opinions on all of that better.

      3. You say this is lazy. Really? You should see our calendar, filled with events. I’d argue that it’s quite a bit more work than putting him on a bus and picking him up 8 hours later, but we can agree to disagree.

      4. I’m really curious about your assertion that seems to be “he won’t be getting an education” or “he won’t be learning.” Interesting. I’d argue differently. He can read sixth grade books, knows how gravity works and how black holes are formed, can multiply, draws amazingly well, and so on and so on. Did that not take learning? And if not, what is it that causes learning that a school can provide but that I cannot? Is it the little desks that wrap around on one side? Is it the Number Two pencils? Is it backpacks? Lockers? Hallways? What is so magical about the classroom that I’m missing? If, when we talk about things, I wrote my ideas and demonstrations on a chalkboard instead of on paper, would that suffice?

      5. Kids can’t learn from TV, the internet, books, and social experiences? Really?

      I have more, but I’ll stop. I trust my approach.

      • Ted Kolovos says:

        Why did so many people focus on home schooling from this post?

        There is so much more about life and business here.

        I’m gonna have to read it again tomorrow. Enjoyed it. Thank you.

        Oh, and we love Mario too in this house 😉 Scratch that! We adore Mario. But that is a subject for another post entirely isn’t it? hehe

        P.S. Add me on Google plus if you want to share Mario stories ->

        • Johnny says:

          No, agreed… it’s not supposed to be a schooling post, but because I opened with it and use it as my current example, I think people really noticed that. But definitely, this applies EVERYWHERE.

      • Kevin says:

        I think it’s pretty clear that Rebecca drew her conclusions because that’s all you offered in your original piece. To be honest, I though the same thing as she did when I read your description of what your day held: a lazy tour through the day of an arrested-development slacker. Gym? Target? Reading a few marketing-pieces-disguised-as-books? It made your child sound like an incovenient accessory, and a victim of a somewhat slapdash personal experiment of your own.

        Now, what you said in your response here diverges from that. It sounds like you do have a lot of meaningful content in most of your child’s days. If so, that’s terrific, and as it should be. But don’t be surprised to be called out based on your own words, because none of the great things you list here in the comments were mentioned in the original piece. If this is the work you’re doing, then keep up the good work.

        By the way, I’m a father of a 2 1/2-year-old and looking ahead toward non-traditional or un-schooling as the option for our boy, and I’m daunted as hell by the responsibility of it. But also not wanting to just run him through the machine, so I’ll do what it takes. Always good to hear perspectives from people committing to it.

        • Johnny says:

          Yeah, I understand how that could happen, but it’s true that I hadn’t intended for this to be my treatise on schooling, un- or normal. I mean, hell… the post is a monster, like 5000 words. I figured it’d be taken more as a “question the normal way of doing things” post since that’s what most of those words are about.

          That’s why I didn’t go into detail on my plan… it would have distracted from my main point. My fuller thoughts on this whole thing are in this separate post, which I linked to less-than-obviously in the post above: http://johnnybtruant.com/what-do-we-teach-our-kids/ (It’s also why I chose some deliberately out-there things to mention in this post… they speak to “disobey” more than “education plan” and were at least in part stylistic choices to match the tone of the post.)

          The more I think about this stuff, the more some of the perceptions surrounding it seem crazy to me. For one, everyone worries about socialization, and we’ve never been so busy, with all of the library and museum and park visits, the homeschool group and unschooling co-op meetings, soccer and scouts (both things we probably wouldn’t have done if he’d been in school, but which we joined specifically to get him around kids more).

          But the other is something else you mentioned — the perception that this is a lazy approach, or one for parents who condone some kind of benign neglect. I can’t understand that. Sending kids to school is FAR easier than anything we’re doing. Believe me, this has taken much more effort so far, and I could definitely be more productive and probably make more money during my day if my son was at school. We have bureaucracy to deal with that we wouldn’t have to deal with. We had to learn things we wouldn’t have had to learn. The default choice would have been much easier by comparison…. the bus shows up every day, and every day we put him on it and then get 8 hours off.

          It’s specifically because I genuinely am concerned for my son’s well-being and future that I’m taking this more difficult path. And it’s because I love him and enjoy spending time with him that I don’t WANT him gone all day. Do I want him raised by someone else? Or do I want to keep up the education I’ve given him all day every day just fine until the arbitrary day that the government decided that suddenly a new agenda was at hand and that I was no longer qualified?

          • You just hit on what we struggled with. Sending out kids to the school down the street would have been the easier choice. As far as our neighbors were concerned it was the obvious choice.

            That actually worked against our making that choice, which is kind of messed up. We intentionally choose something harder just because it’s harder? Intentionally contradicting other people’s opinions is still doing things because of what other people think.

            Now that school has a new principal, who we really like. Both girls have teachers they seem to really like. (Granted it’s only the first week.) And my pregnant wife doesn’t have to drive them to school or pick them up.

            So we’re doing what everyone expects us to … I guess we’ll just have to live with that.

  9. Evie says:

    Reading this post was a great way for me to start my day 🙂
    Felt a bit like walking outside on a cool morning; the cool air quickly wakes you up and you’re alert and ready for the rest of the day.

    Made me remember this YouTube video I came across: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZAHYpzCoKA (The Game of Life by Dan Rezler)

  10. Starthrower says:

    Excellent! Yes.”Be the change…” Be. I’ve unschooled, home schooled both of my children. My son is now 18 and life seems to be unfolding for him as he attracts his needs and wants to himself. His being has been uncluttered for so long he is sensitive, more aware, more able to take in and absorb. It is amazing. I dropped out of high school in ’84 at the age of 16, and spent my days at the library discovering just what it was I was disobeying. Thanks to John Holt, Ivan Illich, who later wrote Deschooling Our Lives,etc. Suddenly, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be and everything would be just fine and now 27 years later I see that I did the right thing. Imagine at such a young age even, hah! Thank goodness for me at 16. My life and my children’s lives are beautiful now.

    • Johnny says:

      That’s fantastic… love to hear the experiences of others trying this thing that is still very new to me.

  11. Chase says:

    It may sound strange (esp. coming from a guy who’s 23), but I was watching an interview with Timothy Leary recently… the crazy “kook” teaching kids about LSD during the hippy days. I say strange because I’ve never experimented with it (…so why should I be learning about it…)

    Ultimately, his reasoning for his ideals hit me like a ton of bricks. He talks about how his mentors, who were all world-famous philosophers, were ones who operated outside of the norms. And for many of them they were imprisoned, scorned, and sometimes killed for their points of view.

    However, their ideas helped the world advance forward in unimaginable ways. So it seems appropriate to call them heroes, because without the fearless decision to stand by their ideals, they’d easily fold to mass opposition and their messages would have never passed down through the centuries.

    You my friend are a hero.

    P.S. Here’s the video interview if you’d like to catch a glimpse (it’s when Leary was nearing his death…)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zkv-lFHQjfI&playnext=1&list=PL7B3FDCB683B15B10

  12. Henry says:

    Wow….my wife and I literally prayed this morning about being led to Home Schooling. As you can imagine this was a timely post to ne read, thank you for the time to write this…I’m in agreement with most parts.

  13. Kenny says:

    Strong mentality for a very good article. But what about people not mature enough to take rationable decisions? Like a teenager who decides to make drinking alcohol his new rules?

    • Johnny says:

      Well, then that person lives with the consequences.

      Remember, you could also question the rules that say “Don’t steal,” as I’ve mentioned in the post. And if you did, you face the consequences… i.e., if you break that rule, the ruling powers who made that rule — those who control and belong to the police, say — will mete out your punishment.

      So I’d say that if someone chooses to simply drink all day, that’s their business. But they’ll see where that gets them, and if they’re like many people, they may decide they don’t like where it gets them, and some of those will then make new choices.

  14. Chris Adams says:

    If you eat something that you don’t know is meat, you are fine. Technically Friday starts with vespers on Thursday, so about 5-6 o’clock at night.

    Fasting doesn’t determine if you go to heaven or hell. If you miss fasting or lapse, you aren’t going to hell. Thinking it does is a heretical idea. We call it being scrupulous, which can be a sin itself.

    So that means if you are the choking Catholic butcher, the only thing you have to worry about is why in the world pieces of meat are flying through the air. 😉

  15. I’ll try to keep this short, but homeschooling my kids is my number one passion in life, so I tend to ramble.
    I’m in the “middle” of my homeschooling career-we’ve been at it for twelve years and my kids are 8-20. A couple of years ago, I got really excited, because it occurred to me that homeschooling was the only part of parenting that I could “see” working. I could see them wonder about something and go and find the information and dig in and get excited. I could see their comfort level with the world.
    Most importantly, I could see, without a doubt, that they had no ability to be sheep. This was validated for me when the oldest two chose to take a single class each at our local high school (yes, the town I live in is SO awesome that homeschoolers can attend as few or as many classes as they want at our schools).
    Anyway, it became immediately apparent that rules for the sake of rules was a concept they couldn’t grasp. They kept having the audacity to ask why! At the end of the semester they were thrilled to walk away from that experience.
    So, I guess the point of my comment is this: it works! They really do learn to think for themselves if they have time to play, and learn, and do without peer pressure and other people’s expectations.

    • Johnny says:

      That’s awesome. I feel very good about it, and really don’t have many doubts. Even when tough questions like “How does one naturally learn math?” come up, it makes sense when you realize that if your kid wants to be an architect, he’ll SEEK OUT learning of higher math. If he wants to go to college and needs trig to get a score the colleges like, he’ll learn it on his own. We go after what truly interests us.

      I just remember how many books were ruined for me simply because someone forced me to read them and write a report. And these were books that, ironically, I would have liked if I’d found them on my own.

      • Andrea says:

        And amazingly, Johnny, then learn when we don’t even know it. I posted on your original article, when you were considering unschooling and I just want to say, I’m very happy to see you taking it on.

        To my point replying here, my youngest child is my 15 year-old son. This is a child who has had no formal instruction in 6 years (he did some public school when he was younger) and decided he wants to attend our public high school because they will allow him to earn college credits starting in his freshmen year (and he’s too young to take classes normally through the community college). So today, in his first week of public school, they gave him the entrance exam for college. He basically had to know enough high-school level Math and English to be considered ready for college courses.

        I’m sure you can already guess where this is going. Not only did he pass the tests, but he aced them! Scored nearly 100% in every category, including writing a persuasive essay. I pointed out to him that this was truly a testament to unschooling as I have given him absolutely. no. lessons. ever. He has simply lived with me, read books, played video games, and experienced the world with myself and his older sisters. Yet, he did better on that damn test that most high school seniors do.

        So yes, for all those naysayers out there, you can truly let your kids/teens do “nothing” all day long (my son used to spend 6-8 hours a day playing video games) and have them come out more educated than most high school seniors. AND his teachers love him, because he’s respectful of them. I’ve always respected him, he respects me and he respects everyone he meets. Simply because they’re human beings and they deserve it.

        • Johnny says:

          Wow, love that. It doesn’t totally surprise me, but there’s a difference between taking it on hope and faith and having a few examples where it definitely worked. Thanks for sharing your great testimonial!

      • Augustin says:

        About those books you (had to) read: Schooling Compulsion, Incentives, and Literacy. That’s how an (unschooling-friendly) economist sees it.

  16. I knew that I was on the path of breaking rules when at 4 years old, I announced to my super religious parents that I was not going to church any longer. i got in a lot of trouble for that one and have been busy busting “rules” and doing my own thang ever since. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way but I will never look back with regrets.

    This quote sums up the way I feel: “I am not eccentric. It’s just that I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of goldfish.” ~Dame Edith Sitwell

    Great post again,
    Theresa

  17. Mike Carlson says:

    You’re description of your perfect little young self reminded me of a friend I had in high school. He was the achiever. It was hilarious (or maybe not) when I went later to visit him at the university he went to. Holy change! The guy who never drank or anything was all fucked up and his room, well, a partier heaven.

    Ok you had to be there. It was so unexpected!

    Anyway, I know I mentioned it before but I think it’s awesome you’re home schooling (A point I think RebeccaZ missed somewhere along the line). My school experience was a nightmare because I just could NOT operate within the structure given and forced by the schools. I was lucky to pass with a C average in high school. Funny thing is, according to their own damn tests, I was smarter than many of my peers.

    Go figure.

    Unfortunately it took me being miserable – trying to make my round peg ass fit into societies square hole – into my 30’s before I started to de-institutionalize and realize I can do things differently.

    Now we have this internet thing, where bright creatives can share ideas easily and not have to figure it out on their own.

    Anyway, thumbs up. I’ve enjoyed watching your writing grow.

    Oh and thanks for giving some of us other “weirdo’s” some confidence that there is a place for us out there.

    Mike

    • Johnny says:

      I think that if you’re allowed to explore your interests, the overt, destructive form of rebellious impulse kind of goes away. We’ll see how it all goes…

  18. Shanna Mann says:

    Fantastic. I particularly love how you point out that you need to selectively examine the framework. I get so annoyed by so-called “rulebreakers” who are just like teens rebelling by doing the same thing as all the other teens. How is this commanding your destiny again?

    Understanding why the rules evolved, articulating why that reasoning doesn’t work in your situation, or according to your principles, or doesn’t lead to the outcome you desire, is going to get you a lot further towards the future you actually want than looking around to see what everyone else is doing and following suit.

    • Johnny says:

      Strangely, breaking rules because it’s cool to break rules is just another form of mindless conformity.

  19. Shane says:

    Johnny!!!!!

    I love this post as if it were my own. And it inspired me while I was crafting my latest to reference it because I think that we all follow the typical “work/life” template which requires us to not break the rules….yet….I believe that’s where all the real people are…over there where breaking rules is ok.

    http://www.rewirebusiness.com/personal-development/finding-your-passion-and-doing-meaningful-work-is-this-just-bullshit/

  20. Jen Adams says:

    Johnny,

    I loved this post! I don’t even have kids and I was gleeful that Austin won’t be going to “real” school this fall.

    As another high school achiever and college “winner” I’ve discovered that travel, really living, and getting out more are way, way, way more awesome than the traditional path. I may not be living success like “they” say I should, but last time I checked there was food in the pantry, clothes on my back, love in my life, and ice cream on my afternoon walk.

    It’s good to be alive … and free!

  21. allie says:

    Pure win. 12/10. Gold.

  22. Here’s where you’re dead wrong.

    And I mean that.

    Fostering contempt for others choices is bullshit and you should stop doing it. Being smug or superior because you *unschool* is crap. Laughing at a bus? Being superior to others? knock that off.

    I know, uncool to disagree with you here, but you’re dead wrong and that thought in the beginning isn’t congruent with the “there are no rules.” Smug, not smog, kills.

    • Johnny says:

      Figured someone would say this.

      It’s not my intention to mock anyone else’s choices. There is nothing “wrong” with school in and of itself. I just don’t believe it’s right for everyone, yet few people even consider that they could opt out. Hedging every bet in writing (i.e. repeatedly pointing out, “Now, this is great for some, but…”) hardly allows me to get my point across in a clear way that doesn’t diverge all over the place so yeah, I wrote it strongly.

      And don’t think that we haven’t gotten some seriously smug shit from people who do things traditionally, either. A lot of folks on the other side of the table are mocking my choice PLENTY. (Meaning: They’re pointing and laughing at me, too.)

      Definitely no disrespect re: individual choices intended.

  23. Charlie Arnott says:

    If you had been different or awkward or bullied at school you might have discovered this a long time ago. Comes across as the whine of a white male heterosexual…

    • Johnny says:

      I think you’re suggesting that I wasn’t awkward or different at school. That’s a laugh. You think the smart kid is popular? You went to a very different kid than I did if so. I took a ton of shit. A ton.

      But I am white. And I am male. And I am heterosexual. And I do enjoy whining.

  24. Theart says:

    I am blown away by your humour, insight and relevance to where the world is at the moment. Thank you for this piece – it was sent to me by an old school friend with whom I had just made contact again after 27 years. I hear you load and clear. it is refreshing to know there are more of us out there than we think. “Illigitimi non carborundum” my friend, “the times they are a changing.”

  25. Chris Adams says:

    I find it rather interesting though that the philosophy that is the biggest rule breaker is not some far flung philosophy in the outliers…it is orthodoxy.

    Today’s society is fine with everything pretty much, except tradition. Since I have come into the Catholic Church I have broken almost every societal rule that exists. Not only that, but I have haters everywhere; Though I try to be charitable to everyone. I can honestly say I have not been so disliked in my life. Why? I break their rules.

    • Johnny says:

      That doesn’t surprise me. In the spirit of this post, I guess my opinion is that rule-breaking or rule-questioning isn’t really at the heart of this. What’s most important is conscious, deliberate decision-making. There seems to be a pendulum in society, and it swings to one extreme and then reverts to the other. Right now, tradition is “out” because it’s seen as the epitome of all that hasn’t worked in the past, but crapping on it without thought is as mindless as obeying it without thought. I think you and I could hang out even if we were totally different as long as you made your orthodox decisions deliberately and I made my unorthodox decisions deliberately, and we both respected that our decisions were our decisions alone.

  26. Jaimi Sorrell says:

    Oh. My. God. I am framing this post and sticking it above my desk. You have no idea how much I identify with this and how much I needed to hear this right now, gathering my courage and staring at the barbed wire fence in between me and freedom. Thank you, Johnny. You are my hero, and one day soon I hope to be making a post of my own like this. From the other side of that fence.

  27. Hey JBT,
    Your weirdness will become the new norm in society. Too many wait for others to change before they are willing to change themselves.

  28. This so fits with a discussion I’m having with a friend at the moment about living deliberately. We really should spend the time to think about what we want from life and plotting out our own roadmap to success. Who says that success should mean a six figure income and all the toys that go with that? For some it might, but it shouldn’t automatically come down to that. Making a conscious decision about what it is you want and what you need to do to get there leads to a purpose driven life. Being purpose driven is the ultimate motivation. Great article, I already shared it with the friend I mentioned, and he LOOOVES it!

  29. Shann says:

    Damn skippy! Thanks for rocking your truth. Cheers!

  30. Yes, yes and more yes. We unschool – we’re in our second year. And we work from home. Our “normal” friends constantly complain about their jobs, their kids getting in trouble in school, having too much homework, feeling overwhelmed, but “what are you gonnna do about it?” Not do it! That’s what you need to do about it. Take your training from DARE and just say no.

    It’s not about just breaking rules to break them. It’s about picking what you choose your life to be. This life has not always been easy. There have been some struggles, lots of “what the f were we thinking” moments and a few times where we decided a choice we thought was perfect wasn’t as perfect after all. But it’s worth it. Because at the end of the day I’ve lived my own life.

    • Johnny says:

      Yeah, pretty much my thoughts. I imagine we’ll be all over the place with time, but for now it feels pretty great.

  31. Thank you for writing this Johnny. I love every word. I love every point. I love every comment.

    We unschool, but you knew that. My husband and I are both self-employed…working towards CEO-ness. By keeping our world simple and defiantly embracing our own curiosity, we’re showing our kids *how* to learn and how to follow their wander. It’s beautiful.

  32. Oh, I envy you. We’re back in a fabulous alternative charter school now, but still, it’s a compromise. I miss those carefree days when we found learning in *everything.* Everything. Even a trip to Chuck E. Cheese was rich with education. Enjoy, this is a special time!

  33. terry says:

    Great points on the home schooling. I don’t necessarily believe home schooling is for everyone, but sadly those folks are forced to deal with a institution ran by an inflexible union that is only concerned with dues-paying members. Have you ever – and I pose this question to all 50 states – heard of a teacher getting fired (outside those that are getting carted off to jail for rape or murder)? Not that firing employees necessarily makes an effective workplace, but a poor or incompetent teacher only gets…seniority.
    And woe to the person who questions curriculum. Mix in federal regulations and large numbers of kids who’ve never known a dad, and it’s not a place for real learning.

  34. Beth says:

    I must tell you that I read the first paragraph out loud to my dog and she cheered. She was so glad to learn that she isn’t the only one who just wants to beat the hell out of anyone who dares to pull up in front of the house and honk of all things. It’s as bad as those damn trash men who come and steal our stuff once a week.

    • Johnny says:

      My favorite is when a TV show uses a doorbell that sounds like ours. Oh, you can’t explain that away.

  35. Kat says:

    Oh. Wow.

    I read thise three times in the last 12 hours. I am so touched, I even cried (although there are hormones fucking with me but I give you half the credit for it anyway). Living in a country (Holland) where homeschooling itself is a huge no-go and even non-existent when it comes to laws, let alone unschooling, I guess we’re breaking the rules big time. And we too got beaten up when it comes to finances, we even lost our house. Quite a big deal with 2 small children. I felt like a looser and made op stories about why we moved, close friends know but mostly I use the story.
    And to be honest 7 months down the line I still feel like a failure most of the time because of the moneything when in fact we just live on. We are together and hang in there quite well although our marriage almost fell apart do to stress. Telling The Made-up Story hurts me everytime. It’s a lie I don’t want to use, I feel it’s not fair I need to use an excuse. But I do….because I don’t wánt to be that looser, deadbeat mom..

    May be, and I realized this even more when reading this post, we just have to come to terms with the fact that we are weird. Disobeying people. Odd (but very loving and cool 🙂 parents. We are who we are, life is what it is. We tried to take care of the moneystuff but couldn’t do it anymore when jobs went down so we’ve lost that game. I think it’s time for a whole new game all together. I was on the path allready but your words really motivate me to just keep on focussing on OUR game, not the one the world wants us to play.

    Thank you so much. And I am even thinking about ditching the stupid why-we-moved-story and tell the truth from now on.

    • Theart says:

      Kat –
      I am from South Africa, and let me tell you everywhere in the world this is happening, except to the super rich – they are just a little less rich – but they have felt nothing in all of this.
      You are not a failure – the world economic system is a failure – and they have enslaved us long enough. Trust me – I am where you are and the system needs a serious re-boot – BIG TIME. Greed is killing the planet on all fronts. And the Americans are at the root of it all. Hang tough and know that all is well.

      • Shaw Mitchell says:

        Theart,
        Your comment is correct. I am an American (And an unschooling father [for over 15 yrs.] with a scientific worldview.). One who has awoken to the fact that we, in America do not live in a democracy, or a republic. We live in a plutocracy/corporatocracy.

        You are correct to say that, “the Americans are at the root of it all.” If we, the American people, can’t tame American predatory capitalism the world will suffer catastrophically. We (or rather the powers-that-control with disinformation rather than the club) have already caused too much damage to the planet and its peoples.

        But America must fix itself, because the powers that be will use any interference from the outside as an excuse to create fear in the minds of ignorant Americans who have been dumbed down since birth by compulsory schools; by corporate-owned media; by corporate advertising, marketing, and public relations (once called propaganda); and by a government (that is supposed to be of, by and for all of the people) that has been bought off by big money. All of these currently undemocratic institutions are the shapers of public opinion, the American mythologies — American lies. All of these institutions are owned or controlled by the ultra-rich and those they incentivize (teachers, professors, managers, CEOs) to keep the story/mythologies/lies going. The rich do this for their own interests, for their own “welfare.” And in the process block the “general welfare” that our constitution says the government is supposed to promote. (Not all rich people are a problem. Some want to change the system too.)

        There are many Americans who are trying to wake our fellow citizens to the fact that they are asleep to the facts of our dire situation. They, we, have been bamboozled. We have been taught to blame the wrong things (immigrants, minorities, gays, foreign countries, etc). We are indoctrinated to believe false ideas (Tarot, astrology, gods, prayer, etc). We are taught to have faith and distrust evidence and reason. We are taught false or incomplete history. We are NOT taught to think. To question is to think. To not question is to NOT think — only to echo hand-me-down opinions. Too few of us question all that is fed to us to swallow whole and to regurgitate at school, work, and among each other — all of which serves to reinforce the bullshit. The conductor/composer Gustav Mahler said, “Tradition is laziness.” I think this sage adage applies not just to music but to everything. Tradition is for the fearful; innovation is for the brave. Change, as the saying goes, is the only constant.

        We have a democracy and a capitalism for the few, the rich. What we need is a democracy and a capitalism for the many.

        Wake up, my fellow Americans. We can do better than this. We are a great people with much potential. We have just not been allowed to live our full potential. But we can break free of these shackles of the mind, heal, and grow, and make the world a better place. We do not have to accept the world as it is; we can remake it, reshape it, re-boot it (as Theart put it) the way we want it. Posterity, our great grandkids, can look back on us and say that OUR generation was truly the greatest. For we saved humanity from itself.

        From Europe, to Africa, and Asia, to the Americans, all democrats in all counties have their work cut out for them.

        Much depends upon
        this generation
        with glazed eyes
        before the new dawn.

        There are many keys needed to open the many locks blocking our thinking. Here is just one key: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_lYGyIaK80

        P.S. Nice post, Truant.

    • Johnny says:

      Oh man, that sucks to be that far from the mainstream and have to fight so hard in Holland. Despite the tone of this post, I definitely appreciate the fact that it now has enough momentum that we’re not TOTALLY out there on our own.

  36. In all my 38 years, you’re only the second person I know who actually openly, brazenly, defies common morality. You are SO right with this one. Rocking, truly rocking.

    • Johnny says:

      Aw, shucks. I just have a blog that I have to fill, so I can’t keep my mouth shut. 🙂

  37. Theart says:

    Johnny – ever thought of doing a video-blog?

    • Johnny says:

      I’ve done a bit, but I’m a writer… things come out far better in written form. Video blogging feels awkward for me.

  38. Dan Becker says:

    Be smug and be superior…. eventually you will get to the point you realize the people that don’t get it can not or do not want to. It is not your job to fix them. Keep in mind when the lemmings do turn they likely will run over you. Keep your head down and inside your bubble.

  39. Theart says:

    Saw your three clips on YouTube – cool – what’s next?

  40. Crystal says:

    love. Love. LOVE! Thanks so much for posting this. It is EXACTLY what I needed to “hear” right now. My kids thank you too.

  41. Joe says:

    Nice post but I suggest looking deeper into anarchism. No rulers does not mean no rules.

  42. Sami Paju says:

    The best post you’ve ever written.

  43. In one of the many pre-obituaries for Steve Jobs — and let’s not pretend they’re anything but exactly that — was this great quote from his 2005 Stanford commencement speech:

    No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

    Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

  44. I should have mentioned, that was from this collection of the best Steve Jobs quotes. They’re all worth reading.

  45. Courtney W says:

    Right on Johnny!

  46. the muskrat says:

    This is exciting…I’m looking forward to reading how it goes with your boy this year. I’d like to “home” or “un” school our children, but we have 3 under the age of 6, and my work (which pays well and is usually enjoyable) keeps me in an office as opposed to our house.

    • Johnny says:

      Yeah, that would be a challenge for sure. We’ve got a fair degree of freedom with being at home a lot of the time.

  47. Cam says:

    Right on!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] fit together more congruently.  What? That’s against the rules?  Why yes, it is.  It’s ok to disobey.  Just stand up and do it.  Be defiant for the sake of your […]

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  3. […] My friend and occasional co-conspirator has gone all homeschooly this year – even unschooly. And he wrote a great big post about it that you should go read now. […]