It’s Independence Day here in my little corner of the universe, so I thought I’d share some thoughts on freedom. I’m an Independent in the political sense, though for the most part I’m not interested in writing about politics. I’m more passionate about personal growth and self-discovery (as you may have noticed).
I’m an independent being in many ways. I like to think for myself, and discover ideas and ways to live that work best for me. I’m not interested in conformity, even if it’s conforming to a cool funky subculture. I no longer worry about how my choices appear to others, for the most part.
On the other hand, I’m all about the interdependence. There are things I rely on family members for, things I’m not good at or don’t like: things like fixing mechanical stuff that breaks, mowing the lawn or moving the snow, tending the garden, and talking to bill collectors. There are things that I do for family and friends on a regular basis: helping my elders with chores and errands when they need it, doing meal planning, grocery shopping, and dishes for my immediate family, keeping our schedule running smoothly, and providing a compassionate listening ear. We all work together to live a happy and healthy life.
Within this web of cooperation, each of us has freedom. We are free to choose if, how, and when to provide help for others. We’re free to request it for ourselves. Most important, we’re free to be who we truly are. I’m lucky to live in a community that isn’t big on judging others. Or maybe it’s not luck, but rather a choice in itself. I want to be around people who appreciate me for who I am, and I extend that same courtesy to them.
Freedom is something that many kids in our culture don’t get to experience. I’m thankful for my unschooling community, where kids are free to choose their life path at an early age. Yes, they are guided by the adults around them. Yet their choice of what to learn about, how to learn it, who to hang out with, how to express themselves, what to do each day, and so forth (the things that most adults take for granted) is their own. And in my experience, kids with freedom, growing up in a loving community, are amazing, creative, and joyful beings. For that matter, so are the adults.
Happy Independence Day!