Ripples #1101: Freedom’s Opportunities

Ripples #1101: Freedom’s Opportunities
June 29, 2020


May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.
-Peter Marshall, shared by Laura in Charleston, IL


When my grandfather talked about freedom, his attitude was really interesting. His view was that you had obligations or you had responsibilities, and when you fulfilled those obligations or responsibilities, that then gave you the liberty to do other things.
-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, shared by Paul in Orville, OH


As those of us here in the U.S. prepare to celebrate Independence Day just a few days after this year’s Juneteenth celebrations received renewed attention and interest, I thought this week might be a good time to ponder freedom and its relationship to responsibility.

I can recall so many times when I felt weighed down by the “restrictions of childhood”–being stuck with school and homework and chores and vegetables and bedtimes. I imagined adulthood as this massive experience of freedom since I would be the one making all these decisions about eating and playing and sleeping and such. I suspect I’m not the only grown up who now looks back on childhood with a different perspective, recognizing that adulthood comes with quite a few responsibilities that frequently get in the way of the freedoms we were so excited about as kids.

At some point, I realized it can be helpful to reframe some of our responsibilities as freedoms in disguise. For example, in our household we have a “Filter Check Day” at the end of each quarter, where we check all the filters in our home (air conditioner, vacuum cleaner, shopvac, dishwasher, dehumidifier, refrigerator, stove vent, clothes dryer…did I get them all, sweetie?). It is a chore, for sure. But with a bit of reframing, I can see that making sure all these filters are clean helps ensure I get to enjoy lots of free time in a comfortable home. And it also frees up time/money that won’t need to be spent on repairs required by clogged filters. Oh, and Filter Check Day here at Marklemann Manor also happens to be “Jam out to 1980s Dance Music” Day, so that is pretty freeing as well.

Can you think of a chore or other requirement that currently seems like the opposite of freedom to you? Perhaps you can dig a little deeper, look behind the mask of obligation and recognize an opportunity to help you celebrate freedom. It will likely take a little practice and a little reframing, but it may just help you enjoy Freedom’s Opportunities more than you ever have before. Try it and see!


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