Last night the kids and I watched the movie "Martian Child". It was the story of an eccentric little boy in the foster care system who thought he was from Mars. It was a very neat story, and I won't share it all, but one quote - the moment the adoptive father, who is a writer gets how the boy feels all the time when his publisher tells him, "Why can't you be who we want you to be!?" This left me thinking.....
People are so intimidated by freedom, especially when you give it to your kids. So many people don't want children to have a say on anything in their lives. It seems the whole world is convinced that when left to themselves, they will all go down the wrong path. I have to assert that isn't so. In fact, I've seen far too many kids sprung from the restrictions of their parents home, and do more damage in the first year or two away from that rule oriented, authoritarian environment than they could've done in all the other years collectively. It seems to me, if they understood that this life was their own, and not something they were being forced to live to the standards and approval of others aside from God, would they not perhaps being given this freedom, guard that life, and care about their future all the more? Then, even if they make mistakes or do things we don't wish them to do, they can claim them as their own and not look at them as "disappointing the folks".
I know I have a long way to go here, and it isn't as if there aren't things, boundaries of mutual respect, and safety issues in our home, there are. Just yesterday one of my kids walked to a restaurant on the highway to get some change without letting me know - and I went ballistic, because it scared me. I am not saying"it's all good" or being morally relative. I am saying that kids need some breathing room. Don't set them up with so many rules that they are destined to mess up.
Why does allowing children freedom upset some people so much? I can't tell you how many times at a church potluck I've had people come to tell me that my middle daughter was only having dessert, or any of a number of other things that are trivial to me when it comes to raising my kids. I want them to be honest, loving, kind, compassionate - eating cake and playing with sticks are areas where we throw caution to the wind.
Childhood is only once people. Let your children out of the cage.