As a parent, the line is razor thin. On the one side is protection. My goal as a protective father is to ensure my son sees adulthood, preferably with a sound mind and all his body parts. On the other side is freedom. I want him to have the freedom to choose, to explore, to do all the mischievous things boys should do. I don’t want him to get hurt. But at the same time, I don’t want him to be coddled to the point that he grows up to be something less than a man.
I think of all the stupid stuff I did as a kid. At least, my hindsight says it was stupid. How many times did I do something dangerous, get lost in the woods, or be somewhere I shouldn’t have been? In some cases, I was lucky to survive. In all cases, I was learning how to live and how not to die. With freedom came risk. And in every instance, freedom was preferable to it counterpart.
This nation will remain the land of the free as long as it is the home of brave.
This land was built with freedom as a focal point. To ensure that freedom and pass it down to the next generation, men and women had to sacrifice. The tree of liberty was refreshed in blood (Jefferson). Bravery was the prerequisite to freedom.
Today is a day to remember the brave men and women who have protected Liberty’s torch and ensured its light will continue to shine for the next generation. And the best way to pay honor to that sacrifice is to do more than offer a small word of gratitude. It is to be brave ourselves and to raise the next generation to be brave. This is the only way to guarantee our freedom. It is the only proper way to pay homage to those who gave so much.
So many long for happiness, yet so many have yet to find a true and lasting form of it. Some would blame others for their inability to obtain it. Others would look for cheapened versions of it that only lasts a few moments before the rush dwindles and fades away.
Happiness is found within each of us. We cannot trust others to provide it for us. We must determine what it is and then work to discover it.
The secret to happiness is freedom…
The secret is freedom. But what is freedom? Is it the ability to do whatever one pleases? Would this not make one a slave to his desires? Freedom must go beyond base pleasure. It must speak of a higher nature, something more meaningful.
When I think of freedom, I think of the ability to operate without hindrance towards one’s goal. Freedom to pursue happiness.
and the secret of freedom is courage. -Thucydides
Simply stated, one cannot be afraid to take calculated risks. There is a chance of failure. Even the safest bets can go awry. But this should not deter us from trying. After all, our happiness, and our freedom, is on the line. If we fail, we should pause. We should look to see what went wrong and what can be done better. And after this moment, we get back up and try again. It is an endless cycle until we hit the mark, until we find the happiness we seek.
The song kept playing over and over in my head. It was one of the song’s my eight-year-old son likes to listen to. It is not a bad song, just not one I want to have my brain playing on repeat mode.
There was a little rough spot on my finger. It bothered me. I picked at it, scraped at it, and kept messing with it until I ended up with a worse problem than when I began.
How many times have I gone on autopilot, completely unconscious of my actions? How many times did I pop the top on a can that I really didn’t want but opened anyway because it was there? The same could be said for the snack in the pantry, the overwhelming desire to go to sleep (I love my naps), or even the automatic slapping of the snooze button without even thinking about it. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I don’t have complete control of my own person.
Epictetus said, “No man is free who is not master of himself.” Consider this when your automatic actions are no longer serving you. Are you the master of your own mind and able to reprogram yourself? It is a question that I must ask myself. Am I a slave to my passions? Am I in control? And if I am not, and I know I am not, then how can I gain my freedom?
I don’t have the answers yet. I know it starts with mindfulness. It starts with observing my actions and behaviors. Once I realize what I am doing, then I can concentrate on taking the necessary steps.