A phrase I find myself uttering time and time again to my children and clients is, “With freedom comes responsibility.” As we see around the world and with history, freedom is highly sought after. It is precious yet often taken for granted. Turning on the news, hearing an immigrant from an impoverished or oppressed country speak of their life, listening to tales of a human slave, visiting the Holocaust Museum or other historic account of slavery and genocide will quickly put your personal freedom into perspective.
I am grateful for the freedom to write and express my opinion freely. I am conscious of the responsibility I have to write blogs and speak opinions, stating they are such, or truths which I substantiate with research and facts. It is my responsibility to own my words, deeds and actions. To be accountable for what I say, what I do, how I interact with others and any harm or offense, intentional or unintentional, that I may bring about with them. My freedom of speech and action means I must respect others freedom as well. I am free to disagree, debate, but my responsibility is to allow others freedom with respect and civility as well as safety. I feel many in our free country have forgotten the responsibility that surrounds such freedom. The responsibility is civility and respect. Our country was founded on the differences of others, hoping to preserve freedom of speech, action, belief, religion and diversity. It is my opinion that we all need to step back, unite over our freedom and diversity, open our minds to alternative views and show respect to each other. As our forefathers said, “United we stand, divided we fall.” I want our freedom and security preserved, not taken away.
I teach my kids this concept of responsibility as they seek to gain more independence and freedom in their lives. As challenging as it is to this mom, a starting point for this independence is allowing my younger sons to walk to the local convenience store with friends and buy food or drink. The first time, they came back with bags of horrible, dye laden, sugar laden candy that was 3+ servings per package. I used this as an opportunity to talk to them about choices, how their choices affect how their brain and body feels and performs. Sometimes, with kids, we need to allow them the freedom to make these “poor” choices and experience the consequences, so they can connect the choices to the repercussion of these choices. This is how they learn responsibility and mindful living.
Another big area of responsibility and freedom for me and my teens is communication. When we, as parents, allow the independence and freedom to go places without us, and begin to live independently, the responsibility we connect to this is communication. I tell my boys that they need to communicate to me where they are, who they are with and I need to be able to reach them via text or phone call. I have heard the excuse of “My phone died” or “I had my ringer off” even, “Sorry, I forgot”. This momma bear worries and is way outside my comfort zone sometimes letting my cubs wander away unsupervised. The freedom and independence is vital for growth and development, so I simply ask them to communicate. The lesson is driven home when they fail to communicate and their freedom lessens… With freedom, comes responsibility. (Insert eye roll here).
I, for one, am grateful for the freedom and security I have in my life. I take responsibility for my: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Choice, Freedom to defend myself, Freedom to Love who I want, Freedom of religion, Freedom to go where I want, when I want. God Bless America and all its people. Let Freedom reign!