I come from a family of renegades. The word “renegade” normally brings to mind images of Rambo lost in the jungle or outlaws hiding in a canyon. Don’t worry! That’s not what my family is like! When I say that they are renegades, I really mean that they aren’t afraid to challenge the norm, go against the grain, and make dreams turn into reality.
I guess it all must have started with my Great Grandpa Charlie. His career as a renegade began when he was just a small boy. When Grandpa Charlie was little, a settlement of Native American people lived close by. Even though he wasn’t supposed to, Grandpa Charlie would sneak over to the Native American camp and have a marvelous time playing with the Native American boys and girls. His family (and the neighbors) eventually found out what he was doing in his spare time and he was proud to have the boyhood nickname of “Indian Charlie”.
As Grandpa Charlie got older, he married and had children. Sadly, his wife died at a young age. One day, Grandpa Charlie met a wonderful woman (who would later become my Grandma Bessie) and asked her to marry him. She accepted without realizing that Grandpa Charlie had left out one small detail: he had two children. Of course, Grandma Bessie eventually found out. Fortunately, she loved children, so it was a happy surprise.
Grandpa Charlie showed his renegade side again after coming home from fighting in World War I. During the fighting, he had been exposed to deadly mustard gas. The doctors said that he wouldn’t live long and were certain that death was coming quickly. The insurance companies denied all his requests for insurance because the doctor’s reports were so grim. Despite his diagnosis, Grandpa Charlie lived on to a ripe old age and lived a full life.
Yes, Grandpa Charlie certainly wasn’t afraid to challenge the odds and make the most out of life. Challenging the odds brings me to two other renegades in my family: my Dad and his brother Tim.
Dad and Uncle Tim are a dynamic duo and certainly fall into the renegade category. Between the two, there isn’t much that they haven’t dreamed, schemed, or done. Both have had multiple careers that have encompassed everything from storm trooper to recording artist and have amazing stories to tell about all of their experiences.
Some of their ideas have been successful and some have miserably failed. Whatever the case, their resolve seems unshakeable. They are so inspiring to me because they aren’t afraid to take a risk and try to make their dreams into reality.
Being a part of a renegade family like this is amazing. They’re not afraid to step out of the box and try something new or different. Through the years, I’ve picked up a few renegade rules from them. Here are a few handy tips.
- Don’t be afraid to step outside the box…and use it to start a campfire…or make a boat with it….or a sculpture…or a lemonade stand…
- Dream – big or small. It really doesn’t matter – just let your imagination soar.
- Don’t be scared to make your dream a reality. The best plans and ideas are often squashed because someone was scared to try.
- Realize life is messy. Things aren’t going to be perfect. Go with the flow.
- Don’t follow the crowd. They seem to get lost a lot.
- Be true to yourself. Don’t give up your values and morals because someone else doesn’t like them.
It’s not always easy being a renegade. In fact, sometimes, it’s really tough. There’s always someone to laugh at you or say that your plan will never work out. Sometimes, they’re right. But just as often, it turns out they’re wrong. Either way, keeping your chin up and your head held high seem to be the best way to carry on.
As the daughter and great granddaughter of renegades, I myself know a thing or two about being different. Teaching public school and homeschooling your kid? Odd? Maybe….but not to me. Getting up at 4:45 in the summer to sell homegrown vegetables at the farmer’s market while other people are sleeping in? Weird? Not really. Canning and preserving hundreds of jars of homegrown food each summer instead of buying prepackaged fake food at the grocery store? Crazy? No sir!
As strange as some of those things may seem to many of you, they are just a normal part of my life – and I love it! Life is so refreshing when you realize that you don’t have to be the same as everyone else. There’s no secret mold that we all need to fit into. It’s okay to be a little different or think about things in a new way. It’s alright to try something new. If you don’t believe me, just try it. Crack open that box lid and peek out of the top. There’s a whole marvelous world out there just waiting for you to come and be…..a renegade!