I was able to run free and have a lot of freedom as a child. I had little expectation put on me, which allowed me to experience joy, mistakes, and independence. This blog discusses my concern with losing the value of freedom.
Freedom is one of my top values because, as a child, I had so much freedom. I could get on my bike and ride for hours, I was able to play outside and explore, and I was able to make mistakes at school with no real ramifications. If I took a class that would be a struggle for me and barely passed, I did not worry about any future impact. Honestly, I did not worry about tomorrow when I was a youth.
Today, I work so hard to keep my freedom. I left the 9-5 workspace that dictated what I could do during my prime hours; I packed up my personal belongings and traveled Europe. When I came home, I created a job that allowed me to bring in income so that I was allowed the luxury of doing what I genuinely wanted to do.
This love of freedom is why I love the 4th of July so much. I know that I could live in another country and not have all the liberties I currently have in America. I could live in a country that would prevent me from my continuous learning and growing, a country where I would have to dress so conservatively that I would sweat when I go outside, or a country where I had to keep my beliefs to myself.
I feel bad for our children because I am not sure they will ever experience the freedom I had the luxury to experiment with when I was a child.
First, if the student is on a college-bound track, they must worry about their middle school classes to be well-prepared for their high school classes. Any bad grade or scar on their transcript can impact their college future. Then it is the fact that in high school, they are expected to know what they want to do for their entire life. They need an opportunity to explore and make mistakes. How can we expect to declare a major when they have not tried their skills? They have been set up to make sure that everything they do, they do with great success.
Society for our children is scarier than it was when I was a child. We hear about abductions inside store bathrooms, shootings at parks and concerts, bullying on social media, and food items laced with deadly drugs. Children cannot go outside and play for five-six hours with no parental supervision. Some young children are put on ‘leashes’ to prevent them from running around and being out of their parent’s view. How can a child feel what freedom means when they are so protected? Please know I am not saying we should not have guarded our children so much….. there was a legitimate reason why we have. I am saying that most of our children do not understand freedom today because we shielded them.
I say all this because I wonder how raising our children will impact future values. I know I am not alone in valuing freedom. If you are a parent, how do you instill independence in your child’s life so this important value is not removed from our society?