Freedom and Opening a Yogurt
One day I was at my computer
and my daughter was in the kitchen.
She was rummaging around
looking for something to eat.
At one point she poked her head out
and asked me if she could
open a new yogurt in the fridge.
There was only a little bit left in the old one
and she wanted to take from a fresh tub.
I Sensed Something Was Amiss
I appreciate that my daughter
asks about things like that.
It shows a certain respect for the household.
At the same time there was something
in the way she asked that bothered me.
It seemed like she didn’t feel an equal member
of the family community at that moment.
You Are Free in Your Own Home
I want my daughter to feel that she is free in her home.
I want her to feel that yogurt is equally hers.
I do not want her to feel I have more ownership
over the yogurt than she does.
How much fun is it to feel a stranger in your own home?
I would not have to ask her if
I wanted to open a new yogurt.
So why should she she have to ask me?
It would be different if there was only
a little yogurt left and she was asking me
if I wanted some of it before she ate it all.
But this was not the case.
You are a Free Human Being
I felt I needed to emphasize to her
that she is a free human being.
She doesn’t have to ask for something
like that in her own house.
Driving home the point
I got up and went into the kitchen.
I took her by the hand saying
“Come with me”
and led her to the fridge.
I held a cup of yogurt in my hand
and looked at her in the eye.
I said to her
“My dear love,
I want you to know something,
you are FREE.
You are a free human being.
One of your greatest powers is
your freedom of choice and
that is something worth protecting.
I kept saying to her
“You are free.”
I said to her that even if
I didn’t want her to open a yogurt,
even if I said No,
and she wanted to open it
she should still do it
because she is free.
I told her even if there were two open yogurts
and for no good reason,
other than that she wanted to
she could still open a third
because she is free.
This does not contradict compassionate and intelligent decision making
Of course I want her to make
compassionate and intelligent decisions,
but I want her to do it from the position of
knowing that she has the freedom
to follow her heart no matter what.
I’m honestly so passionate about this that I’m sitting at Tim Hortons and tearing up as I write this.
Creating a strong inner foundation for the future
There are a few foundational ideas that
I wanted to help my daughter to integrate
as she was growing up.
Messages of love, confidence,
persistence and freedom.
So much in the world contradicts those messages.
This means I am always
working at imbibing them in her.
Counteracting the negative effects of society.
Setting deep and profound parenting priorities
More than politeness,
more than obedience,
more than doing the dishes
or keeping her room neat,
I want my daughter to know
she is a free soul.
Parenting looks very different
when this type of thing is your priority
It changes your focus,
it changes your decisions and
it fundamentally changes your
relationship with your child.
Objections to Freedom
A common objections to this kind of parenting
is that if we give them freedom
they will take advantage of it.
I prefer to think the best of my child.
I prefer to believe in her innate goodness.
I choose to see her as a powerful,
compassionate and loving being.
I choose to trust in her ability to
make intelligent decisions.
Trust is always challenging,
but when we can offer it to our kids
more often than not they will
rise to meet us there.
For me I have always thought of my job as a parent
was to create the highest quality of life
possible for my daughter.
Helping her to realize her fundamental freedom
while still teaching her intelligent decision making
has been one of the primary methods
I have used to achieve this goal.