Thursday, July 5, 2007

Independence Day

In the United States, Independence Day (commonly known as the “Fourth of July” or the “Fourth”) is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain. Fireworks have been associated with the celebration since 1777. (Wikipedia)

What if we were to find a way to celebrate Independence Day in the lives of our children? Not just the 18th birthday when they are legal adults, but the day on which they find their voice, their identity, their direction? Some of our kids might not celebrate that day until well into their 20’s, others perhaps their 30’s. What if the ability to self govern were actually a day that could be recognized and celebrated? How cool would that be?
“here you are now, you know everything that you need to know, and are ready to be an adult in the free world, congratulations!” Would that be great? ……maybe not.

I think that one of the most amazing things about life for mothers and for our children is the evolution of the process of living. The continual ability to wake up each new day and learn something new, experience something different, expose ourselves to something that makes us stretch and think outside of our more regular and common boundaries. Independence is at the end of the day, not to be truly sought, not for a country or a person.
We are none of us ever truly independent. I realized last night at a neighborhood Fourth of July party that if we were truly independent we would probably never need to grow. Reliance on others is exactly what forces the maturation process and the constant and shifting realities that allow us to develop values, and standards, goals and expectations. I watched my children as they ran around and played with almost half dozen other children. They were such a great mini society. There were leaders and followers drawn from both experience and personality, funny kids and straight men, screamers and whisperers, thinkers and inventors, fine tuners and team players. It was the dependence on each “member” to contribute that allowed for a game to develop, improve, continue and end with some sort of system and order. It was incredible. Together they figured out how to make it all work. Without that dependence and with out the acceptance of their own skills and limitations they would have been standing around in a circle staring at one another.
Can you imagine if adults, for a day or better, decided to let go of the need to feel strong and independent and instead rallied behind the wonderfully evolutionary process of dependence? I am not promoting the raising of a dependent child, but what I am suggesting is that we as mothers foster the appreciation for interdependence and the recognition and reward for talents in others.
This lesson from our kids is a strong message to all of us – remember that you really can’t do it all alone and because of that it is important to value every one. Maybe this lesson could spread beyond….we need each other for food, oil, clean water, technology, help, money, etc.

I guess that this is a good example of the wisdom of children and perhaps we should have a t-shirt that reads “my kid says…..ask for help when you need it”

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