Considering today is the 4th of July or Independence Day, I thought it appropriate to share my views on freedom.
In high school, I was a math and science nerd. I love spreadsheets, formulas and experiments. I also loved English and Creative Writing classes (no surprise) but History and Geography…. OMG!!! I could really care less about dates and who did this or who that. I have an understanding of the overall history of the world and events that helped to shape our culture however I never really thought it important to store those dates and names in my brain. I feel ok with my general understanding. Anyway, I say that to tell you that this won’t be a history lesson.
When I think of freedom, I think of the men and women that fought and died for many of the liberties that we take for granted today. I feel sad that future generations may never fully grasp the level of sacrifice required for racial and gender minorities to attain the sibilance of equality that we have today. Granted there are many racial and gender issues still facing our country, despite those who think an African-American President and female “almost” winning the Presidency have somehow cured the mental disease that plagues many Americans. In fact, I think those accomplishments in some ways have heightened those tensions because a segment of our society does not respect the fact that we are all created equal. There are men and women who are still fighting for our liberties. They are not only fighting on foreign soil but many of them are fighting in boardrooms, classrooms and courthouses to maintain freedom for each one of us.
The other freedom that comes to mind is my spiritual freedom. I realized a long time ago that many people are slaves in their minds. They don’t need physical bondage to keep them from achieving their goals, traveling outside of their community or simply formulating an opinion. Many of the people are shackled in a mental prison because they cannot find joy in life. That joy may come from your belief in God or it may come in just believing in a higher power but often it comes from having knowledge. It does not matter who or what you believe, as long as you realize that the world is bigger than you. It doesn’t matte if you have a GED or PHD but it does matter that you focus on learning more today than you knew today so that you have something to teach and contribute to those around you. When you are free in your mind, you are able to think for yourself and operate on a much higher level than being involved in petty bickering, backstabbing and gossip.
What are my keys to freedom?
- Understand what freedom means to you. Freedom to me is the ability to go where I want, say what I want and do what I want. However, you have to remember that just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.
- Exercise your freedom. Just like faith without works is dead, so is freedom without exercise. Keeping your freedom bottled up is the equivalent of enslavement. Your greatest freedom in America is the right to vote. I hate to hear people complaining about issues and then say they don’t vote. If you see a problem in our society, you have the freedom and opportunity to do something about it. In most cases, you can do so without fear of harm or recourse, a luxury previous generations did not enjoy.
- Celebrate your freedom. When you are truly free and living your passion, the joy becomes contagious and people want to be around you and bring positive energy toward you. I love having the choice to work on a project or with a client because I am not a slave to credit cards or debt so I can make decisions based on what makes me happy and not what I have to do.
I’m not sure how we evolved from celebrating our freedom to bbqs and parties but American culture has a way of attaching food to any celebration. I hope at some point today, you will take a moment to think of what freedom means to you and what you can do to live a little freer than yesterday.