“Wherever there is a man who exercises authority, there is a man who resists authority.” Oscar Wilde
SEL Connection: Kids have an almost natural suspicion towards authority, starting early and accelerating through the adolescent years into high school. Resistance to authority occurs in every classroom, family or sports team. In any leadership context, there is a fascinating tension between the needs of leaders to exercise authority and the rebellious instincts of those who must follow.
(1) Claim: Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde suggests there is a symbiotic relationship between authority and resistance. One cannot exist without the other.
(2) Counterclaim: It depends on where one looks, though. In some families, classrooms and sports teams, conformity to authority holds more value than resistance to it. People dismiss their rebellious instincts in favor of getting along and functioning as a whole. There is no resistance to authority.
(3) Essential Question: When is conforming to a higher authority the right thing to do?