Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.
Yesterday, at the preschool, we wondered how to approach an introduction to the 4th of July with the three year olds. Many are still working on “criss cross applesauce”, sitting at circle, sharing vs. grabbing and using the bathroom BEFORE it’s too late. A friend of mine googled to find out how to talk about it with young children with ideas like this. An opportunity to talk about independence actually seems quite applicable and appropriate with preschoolers, frankly. The concept of freedom and the way the Declaration of Independence provided the foundation for guaranteeing that freedom is so pivotal for the life we easily enjoy.
As Camus “declared”, though, freedom truly is simply the chance to do better. The chance to operate from a new starting point. The mandate to use one’s independence and rights to make things different. This concept was brought “home” for me this morning. Matt was sharing about a couple that tore down a $4.2 million dollar home to guarantee themselves a better view for their previously purchased $19 million dollar home. Here’s the story….
It’s pretty easy for me to balk at this couple’s decision…to wonder how in the WORLD they could have so much disposable income that this type of purchase and destruction makes sense. Especially in light of the experiences our youth group (and thus, my husband) just had on a recent building trip to Mexico. Or when paired up next to the many stories I heard and witnessed while teaching this year. I think about families struggling, with finding housing and KEEPING housing.
So many of us live in this country based on a foundation of independence, fought for and secured by others, and yet we do the same thing. We have so much, and yet we squander that freedom away. Sometimes we use the freedoms we enjoy for helping others, but I know for me, I often don’t. Too much effort. Too much fear. Too much self-centeredness. Too much work. Who knows the myriad of reasons, but today, as we enjoy BBQs, pies, days without work, sprinklers and family, hopefully we can find time to think about the deeper mandates of freedom. The call to make this freedom KNOWN. Freedoms guaranteed in our very own country’s borders, yet often squelched.
And as is often the case, needing to answer tricky questions from my 5 year old, or teaching students (whether 3 or 10), forces me to think through these topics for myself. To struggle with “accepted” words and concepts like freedom and independence and think about the implications of these ideals for me. To question and ask myself, “How am I called to help freedom to truly ring?”…not just in the places of ease and wealth, but it the tougher moments. Preach it, Martin Luther King, Jr.!
So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
Martin Luther King Jr.