Many people consider independence to be more or less interchangeable with freedom.
But is it really? What does independence or freedom really mean?
As we celebrate our country's independence day this July, it's got us thinking about true independence. In many circumstances, independence also brings with it a tremendous amount of responsibility.
If you're independent, can you say you are not relying on anyone for anything?
If you are, for what? What freedom did you give away?
Being truly independent, you are free to make choices but not free from responsibility. If, however, you were dependent, then you are FREE from the responsibility of having to take care of yourself (make those decisions), but then .... you lose your choices.
It's like being a homeowner or a property owner versus a house guest or tenant. The owner is responsible for all the expenses, all the decisions about what to do, when to do it, how to do it.
The house guest or tenant can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. That's why we pay rent or lease.
The effort it takes to make those decisions and pay for them, see that they get done and done right is a great responsibility.
As citizens of this country, we rejected the tyranny of the British and their control over our independence.
We wanted our freedom. Now WE have the responsibility to see to it that our elected leaders accomplish what we chose them to do. We hold our fellow citizens accountable to the laws that we've jointly established under our constitution.
We must hold those truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal. As an independent country, as independent citizens of that country, we have a duty to respect where we have come from, take care of our present and preserve our future for the posterity of our children.
Consider the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:
"We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. - And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
In order to act, conclude, contract, establish or DO ... one must be free to be independent. True freedom is not free ... it comes with a heavy price and a heavy burden.
Consider the freedom we have to choose our own path, our own direction. It is truly a feeling of great achievement to see our children become independent.
While they are dependent and have less freedom as children, it's our job as parents to guide them toward that independence, much like any other good teacher.
Our ultimate goal, however, is to set them free.