Freedom Responsibility and Home Education
Freedom, Responsibility, and Home Education
The Homeschool Advisor blog posts in the past have been about providing information to our home educating community. This one is a little different. Because sometimes things just come together and make sense in a new and different way. Sometimes those things make us open our eyes just a little bit wider. Sometimes those things make us more aware. That’s what happened to me today.
It is July 4th, the day that Americans come together to celebrate the independence of our nation. Over 200 years ago, people fought long and hard, and we gained our independence. We have FREEDOMS! And today we celebrate! Families and friends gather, there is often music, warm weather, good food, and fireworks. A tradition.
But this morning as I was going through my news feed, I came upon Seth Godin’s very short and sweet blog post for the day, titled “Responsibility Day”. I happen to think that Seth Godin has a lot of good insight, which is why I subscribe to his blog. The fact that his blog posts are VERY short – today’s post was only 117 words – helps to ensure that I read them. But the title of today’s post really grabbed my attention. Responsibility Day?
After reading his post, I was immediately reminded of Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote. Here’s what she said:
Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.
We could take this to mean that freedom means everyone is responsible for themselves. I believe it means something different. If everyone was responsible for themselves during the American Revolution, we might not be celebrating Independence Day. Could it be that the responsibilities we have in return for our freedoms are simply to do what is required to maintain those freedoms? Is there more to it than that?
Other things that I saw on my news feed ranged from people wishing others “Happy 4th of July” to people expressing their dissatisfaction with many current situations in our nation and feeling unable to celebrate a nation that they were disappointed in.
All of these things came together today with a new awareness.
I believe that our individual responsibilities include doing what we can to continue to improve our nation. Carrying our own weight means carrying our own share of the weight. That weight is the collective weight of improving the nation. Since our nation is made up of human beings, that means doing what we can do so that all of the human beings can experience those unalienable rights spoken of by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. Those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
There is so much need in the world, in our nation, in our communities. Rather than only celebrating today as the day that gave our nation the freedoms that we enjoy, how about giving a little bit of thought to what it is that each of us can do to improve our nation. What part of the weight can we carry?
As home educators and parents, we must give some thought to how we instill that sense of responsibility in our children. Help them embrace a sense of responsibility to something that doesn’t directly benefit them. Help them understand what it means to carry part of the weight.
The other day, a homeschool parent asked for advice about teaching their children to be good people – to be kind, caring and compassionate. It is a great question! In response, other homeschoolers provided great teaching and learning resources. It is of what we do when a fellow parent asks our advice.
Instead of just teaching about it, we should live it. Incorporate doing something for others in our daily lives. Something that does not directly benefit us. I know, home educators are busy, busy people. Our children are with us 24/7. Sometimes we feel we are always "on duty". Rather than making this just "one more thing" that we have to cover, how about if embracing the responsibility to others becomes part of our homeschooling activities?
Find a cause that is important to you or your children. Find out how you can embrace that cause. Find out how you can help carry the weight of that cause.
The outcomes achieved probably will not be measured on any standardized achievement test. The learning will not translate into any kind of grade. It may not make a college or job application more competitive. But the impact may be far more important than any of these measures.
Join me in asking:
- What am I doing to make the world a better place for all human beings?
- What am I doing to make my nation a better place for all human beings?
- What am I doing to make my community a better place for all human beings?
If something doesn’t come to mind immediately, take some time to look around and talk to others. You will begin to see the need. Even if you don’t have a lot of time or resources, you can still become involved in a cause.
One person can’t fix everything (or maybe not even anything) alone. One person working together with others can accomplish a lot. A nation won independence because people worked together.
We will make a commitment to embrace the responsibilities that we have because we have these freedoms.
We can do it.
Happy Fourth of July!