It is about a small boy, who after seeing some Punks in the market, transforms himself into a colourful imitation, including the defiance of authority associated with the image. At the end, his father takes him to the army barracks where he sees a scottish regiment parading. The book finishes with Billy's request of his sister to borrow her tartan skirt...
The book doesn't, in the end, glorify punks particularly, but does model independence, defiance, and being different. These were all interesting and challenging concepts to discuss with a small child. All can be very good and all can be very wicked depending on when and how they are exercised.
This morning we took a excursus in which we talked about the authority of God and the authority of parents (under God) over a child. We talked about sin being the defiant rejection of this authority, the wish for independence from God (and from parents!). We saw that independence can be simply a sinful wish to do our own thing.
We also discussed how it can be a good, proper and right thing when it means following God rather than the world. The strength to be independent and different in such circumstances is desirable!
We thought that there are situations when independence is neither good nor bad but simply an expression of opinion or creativity or ability that has no moral significance.
Weighty issues to be discussing!