Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before glances at recent research on habits, but mostly it’s a sort of flow chart helping us determine the best way for us to establish good habits and extinguish bad ones. She starts by describing The Four Tendencies:

  • Upholders want to meet both external and internal expectations
  • Questioners meet internal expectations, but resist external ones
  • Obligers meet external expectations, but resist internal ones
  • Rebels resist both external and internal expectations

I saw all four of my kids in the list — one of each. But I wasn’t sure about myself. So yesterday as #1 daughter and I were having lunch after some fabric shopping, I asked her opinion.

She says I’m a Rebel.

Maybe so. I certainly resist the grading system at the college where I teach. I resist it in the most obnoxious and bratty way possible, and make it into a big, dramatic undertaking. I feel bratty about having to work long hours and — according to #1 daughter, who should know — I meet deadlines (as indeed I do) only by keeping myself at crisis point all the time.

I’m currently reading Sabbath as Resistance in Sunday School, it’s true. However, I was installed this morning as a Ruling Elder and am the head of the Worship Committee. I teach English, knit, sew, own a successful business, and am continually trying to improve, to develop good habits, and to be a good wife and mother and to lead a normal life. What kind of Rebel is that?

Possibly the kind who takes up Sabbath as resistance.


However, I never carry an umbrella.