I'm as free as a bird now - and this bird you cannot chain.
~ Lynyrd Skynyrd
I'm free to do what I want, any old time.
~The Soup Dragons
I'm free! I'm free! And freedom tastes of reality.
~ The Who
I could go on.
Really, ask anyone.
It's my favorite game.
But playing the themed lyric game isn't really what I wanted to do today.
I wanted to talk about freedom.
The other day, in response to something that was posted on Pinterest, someone commented: I'm all for freedom of speech, as long as it doesn't offend anybody.
I don't think this commenter had a particularly good grasp on the concept of freedom of speech.
Her objection was that someone had posted something that used the f word on Pinterest and she was concerned about the children. (I don't know that Pinterest holds a whole lot of appeal for the children, but I guess I don't have my finger on the pulse of the wee ones anymore.)
At any rate.
Freedom of speech was exercised and objected to.
I generally fall into the if you don't like it, don't watch/listen to/read/look at it camp. If you don't want your kids to watch/listen to/read/ or look at it, don't let them. It's pretty easy.
I recall a time that doesn't seem like all that long ago when our Lea was a baby. Tom came home from work one day to find her playing with the flimsy cardboard tube from a roll of wrapping paper. He was angry at me - how could I let her play with that? He was sure that I had provided her with the means by which to put her eye out. He was demonstrating first time parent paranoia in a spectacular way - but I respected it and didn't let her play with paper tubes after that.
|Don't let the heart shaped basket fool you. These things are pure evil.|
In an effort to keep things fair and balanced, I would be remiss if I didn't give my own parental paranoia equal time.
I asked him not to watch Star Trek until she was in bed because I thought she might find Klingons and other aliens too scary.
|Also scary? What appear to be futuristic Shake Weights.|
I'm sharing those two anecdotes for a reason.
They're both silly arguments, of course, from a parenting perspective, but they underline a couple points
- We respected each other's rules - even when we thought they were silly.
- We didn't try to impose our silly rules on the world.
Tom didn't start a campaign to eliminate cardboard tubes from wrapping paper, paper towels and toilet paper and I didn't try to get Star Trek taken off the air. We just kept those things away from our baby, because for whatever misguided reasons, we had decided that they were not good for her. We did not try to impose our self-inflicted rules on anyone else or on society in general. Our house - our rules.
It didn't matter that they made very little sense in the grand scheme of things.
For anyone who might be concerned - she has since developed a healthy appreciation of Star Trek. Not the obsession level appreciation enjoyed by her father and her sister - but she doesn't seem to have suffered any psychological harm from being deprived of it in her formative years. She is also able to function in a world of wrapping paper, paper towels and toilet paper.
No harm, no foul.
Set rules and standards for yourself.
Set rules and standards for your kids.
But for Pete's sake - don't impose those rules and standards on everyone else.
And just because it's a free world and I can?