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Free Write Friday #16: What does Freedom mean to you?

on January 13, 2013

fwf-specialThis week Kellie Elmore welcomes Jessica Kristie to this special edition of FWF. Jessica is an award winning author, an advocate for art, and an activist against human trafficking. Read more HERE

Now for the Free Write Friday Prompt…

What does freedom mean to you?

Freedom: the only entity that does not carry a price tag but comes at a high price

FreeWhen I first saw the prompt for Kellie’s Free Write this week, different words immediately popped into my head, such as liberty, justice, joy, happiness, dancing, singing, worshiping. So, these thoughts led me to examine the letters that make up the word, much like I remember doing in high school. Of course, back then the chosen words were more flippant and rarely truly serious. It was a game. It was simply for fun and a time of laughter. Here are my thoughts today on the word freedom:

Free will

Right to act, speak, or think

Escape from tyranny

Equal opportunity

Doing without restriction

Ongoing liberty

Making choices

All of this seems reasonable, inherent and natural. Why? If you are born in America, there is no need to question why. BUT, if not, then that’s a different story. Most of us here in America have no clue what it is like to live in a non-free society. We hear about such places, read stories of people forced into slavery, and watch TV or movies that depict the hatred and cruelty surrounding those living in countries that offer no civil or political rights. You are told what to do; you do it: no question! It doesn’t matter whether you LIKE it or not…you have no choice, no voice!

I suppose what gnaws at me the most is the passiveness by which America takes her freedom(s). How much does the average citizen know about the establishment of America as a free nation? Was it magic? POOF! America is free! I am free-e-e-e-e! NO! There was absolutely no magic involved. Sacrifice…the ultimate sacrifice is the price paid for freedom!

Being an educator, my mind reverts back to a recent experience. I work with teachers in an online environment. Those wishing to obtain their Florida Reading Endorsement on their teaching certificate must teach a lesson in the classroom and submit it for evaluation. That’s where I come in. I am the facilitator/evaluator. It is my decision (choice) as to whether they pass or not. Of course, that decision is based on stringent state criteria. It is not just me as one person saying “you pass, ” “you don’t.” It is not a dictatorship. At the same time, each teacher has been given the opportunity to enhance his/her education, no boundaries regarding race or religion. lt is not a case of “only men can be educated,” “women are subjugated.”

It was during one of the video presentations that a total enlightenment occurred and it came from a class of fourth graders. The topic of discussion included questions/answers where events were being recalled which led up to the penning of The Star Spangled Banner by Frances Scott Key. In 1814, Key was inspired by the American victory and the sight of the large American flag flying triumphantly above Fort McHenry, Maryland. Here is a brief excerpt from the video:

Teacher: Do you think things were better back in the day than they are today? Do you think people were more patriotic back then than they are today? Do you think people were more honored?

Students: Overwhelmingly the response to each question was “yes” by the students.

Teacher: Why would you say “yes?”

Students: Back then they got away from England because of taxes. They became free and glad to be their own people (pause) with independence. Now that time has passed we are used to being free.

Teacher: So, today we expect it, instead of appreciate it?

Students: Overwhelmingly the response was “yes” from the students.

Did your thoughts coincide with the responses from the fourth graders? Were you surprised at the outcome? Is that true of America today? Are her freedoms, liberty and justice simply being taken for granted, totally expected, but not truly appreciated with consideration of the sacrifices made by our forefathers and still being made today? Think about it!

What does freedom mean to me? It means hope, faith and courage; it means honor and respect; it means standing up for what I believe in; it means I have a choice, I have a voice! I have the right to make that choice regardless of the situation, I have the right for my voice to echo the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, a silent prayer/a verbal prayer, a tribute to our military, and so much more.

For America to remain free, it should not be the government telling me or anyone else what to do or not to do, it should be the people telling the government what needs to be done, working together, united for the common cause! There indeed lies freedom!




What Does Freedom Mean to You from Abhishek Shah
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11 responses to “Free Write Friday #16: What does Freedom mean to you?

  1. […] This week Kellie Elmore welcomes Jessica Kristie to this special edition of FWF. Jessica is an award winning author, an advocate for art, and an activist against human trafficking. Read more HERE…  […]

  2. terry1954 says:

    that was a very good response to Kellie’s question. Good job! thanks for the ping back also!

  3. graypoet says:

    I too thank you for the ping back. Kellie is an inspiration.

  4. Ron Fischman says:

    I am going to be reviewing Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom for a word war on Sunday. Part of doing so will be confronting the issues around the abuses and laughable misuses of freedom by the many characters, both individual and corporate, in the book. Stay tuned…

  5. Lyn says:

    Freedom is something that is so frequently used flippantly today. Is it because so many of us are only interested in OUR freedom and OUR rights? We see instances of the lack of freedom on the news, but have even the most shocking news articles become like a piece of fiction to us? I help out at ESL (English as a second language) classes at church, and some of the stories these immigrants tell would break your heart. Freedom is not just a word; not just a right, it is a blessing we should treasure.

  6. Alastair says:

    That’s so true. Sometimes freedom is the most expensive thing there is

  7. I enjoyed this. I often ponder the word freedom. For me, as much as people believe they are free they are not. They are imprisoned by rules, fears, comparisons, and religion. Especially in America, we have so many choices, we’re bound by what we know afraid to step out of the box, fighting for this imaginary success, keeping up with Joneses who can’t keep up with themselves.

  8. Raani York says:

    I think many of us don’t appreciate Freedom as much as we should, just because we’re used to it, as it’s said within this article.
    How free are we? Truly? By thinking about this I shudder, then I get sad – but then I smile… no doubt, each of these emotions has its right to touch me shortly…
    Thank you for sharing this, Sharla – and reminding me of really important things once more!

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