To Be Free
Over the past few months I’ve been pondering, contemplating, wrestling with, and downright angry at times, all in regard to one word – free.
There is talk about freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of choice; but while we are busy fighting for those rights for ourselves as adults, to protect the rights of our children when they grow up, our society seems to have forgotten that they, our children, are deserving of freedom now.
I was having a conversation with my Dad the other night, about how some days I long to be a child again. He asked me what it was about childhood that I was longing for. Was it less responsibility? Yes. Was it more sleep? (He was laughing when he asked this) Yes. But above all, I long to be free.
Meriam Webster defines “free” in the following ways:[frē]
1.not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes:
“I have no ambitions other than to have a happy life and be free” ·
2.not physically restrained, obstructed, or fixed; unimpeded:
“she lifted the cat free”
3.not subject to or constrained by engagements or obligations:
“she spent her free time shopping”
4.not subject to or affected by (a specified thing, typically an undesirable one):
The freedom that I long for is simplicity. To go away for a weekend to a place with no cell phone service, no internet, no constraint of engagements or obligations. To make decisions that are best for my family, best for my employees, and best for the families and children at Here We Grow without being under the control or power of another.
Because the truth is, that while I am not physically restrained by all of these things… cell phones, emails that find you wherever you are…
They make me feel emotionally restrained, obstructed, and fixed. I long to feel free.
As a child I was free. I was free to ride my bike, play in the sandbox, eat lunch when I was hungry whether that be at 11am or 1pm, walk to my friends house, or just lay in the grass looking at books. I was able to cry when I was hurt and rest after. I was able to play school all day, every day.
I was I was free.
All of these thoughts prompted me to think about the childhood we are providing for our children today.
I feel as though our society as somehow grown to believe that a child having freedom means that they do not have boundaries, that they can ‘do whatever they want’ (which is really a silly concept, I mean think about it… really truly think about it). That freedom means disrespect… And so because of this fear (and that is what it comes down to), we have taken away the child’s right to freedom… and as a society, we need to stop and more so, we need to take it back.
There are obvious times when a child needs shoes, such as winter, but other times he or she should be able to choose to wear shoes or not.
There are times when a child must sit down, such as a restaurant or while eating, but there are many times when he or she should be able to choose to stand or lay or jump or rock.
There are places where a child must not run, such as through a crowd of people, but there are many times when her or she should be able to choose to run.
You see being free is not tied to what a child may or may not do, being free is learning when and where it is appropriate for certain things and the opportunity to try and fail and try again and succeed. And that is what childhood is all about, exploring boundaries through trial and error by being free..
Tomorrow is an exciting day for our learning environment, as we welcome children and families into our new space full of opportunities to climb, walk, explore, sit, stand, jump, or just be.
Tomorrow, is a chance to be free.