Sunday, July 4, 2010

Reflections on Freedom

It's hard for me to celebrate Independence Day without taking some time to reflect about the powerful impact of freedom on my life - both personally and professionally. I think many of us take it for granted.  We don't understand that are millions of people across the globe who don't have the freedom that we enjoy here in America and several other nations.

As a woman, I am particularly grateful for the blessings of liberty.  There are places in the world today where women are legally treated as property, where the education of a woman (either at all or beyond basic literacy) is forbidden, and where a woman's ability to think and reason is not recognized or accepted.

As a writer, I recognize that I enjoy the benefits of freedom every day.  My writing is not censored and, for the most part, I write without fear of serious repercussion of any kind.  Of course, I need to be responsible about how I use my gift or I will experience some unpleasant consequences, but the government doesn't tell me what I can write and what I can't.  I don't have to worry about my livelihood being threatened because I write something that offends a government official, and I don't have to worry about my life or the lives of my family being in danger because of what I have to say in print.

As a Christian, I am blessed daily with the right to worship freely, to gather with other believers, and to publicly profess my faith if I choose (or to keep it myself, if I prefer). There are still places in the world where freedom of worship is not accepted. Christians are persecuted today as they were two thousand years ago, but not me.  I am among the fortunate ones.

The question that strikes me, though, is "What are we doing with this amazing gift of freedom?"  We have the right to speak out against (verbally and in writing) the injustices around us, but we often don't.  We have the right to practice our faith openly, yet many choose not to.

Many of our Founding Fathers risked their lives practicing these rights.  They were that important to them. And no discussion of our freedoms is complete without remembering and respecting the sacrifice of the many thousands of men and women over the years who have died defending them.  What did they die for?  My right to play Farmville? 

Don't we cheapen their sacrifice if we don't exercise our freedom in a way that helps others and makes the world a better place? Many before us feared for their lives.  Many of us fear ridicule or social consequences if we use our freedom to speak up for what is right, to defend others (particularly those who cannot defend themselves). I think it is one of our responsibilities to do so....or we'll eventually lose it.  This is especially true in a time when political discourse has commonly degenerated into meaningless arguments and more and more people are content to be supported by the efforts of others rather than to earn their own way.

Yes, you may have the freedom to do nothing, but exercising that freedom in that way may result in your children having far fewer liberties than you so.  Can you live with that?

So, happy Independence Day!  How are you going to celebrate your freedom?


No comments:

About Creative Resources & Research

My photo
Woodland, CA, United States
Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.