Sunday, August 3, 2014

Freedom to Read by Irene Latham

image found here
For a while our family (me, hubby, and three sons) used a box of questions to help guide our Family Supper conversation. Here's one I will never forget:

Which is more important: health, freedom, money or love?

We discussed them all – how poor health limits your freedom, how money gives you freedom, how love IS freedom. Ultimately, though, what we decided was that none of them were worth much without freedom.... which makes freedom the answer for us.

These days, whenever I do a gratitude list, freedom is always on the list. I feel so fortunate to have been born in a country that celebrates freedom, and to parents who believe giving kids the gift of freedom is one of the best ways to nurture them to adulthood.


While I have many stories of how being given the freedom to roam and explore led to a satisfying, imaginative childhood, the memory I'd like to share today comes from the summer I was fourteen. 

I had $25 in babysitting money, and when I went across the street to the neighbor's yard sale, I spent it all on a giant box of romance novels. I lugged the box home and proceeded to read every single one of those steamy-covered Cinderella-trope books. 

My parents never intervened, never said no, you're not old enough. And while I *might* have read some things I wasn't ready for, it was freedom with a capital F. I learned more from THAT than any of the words inside those covers. 

I'm so grateful!

11 comments:

  1. Great Post Irene. Freedom IS the answer.

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  2. In fifth grade my friends and I raced through books by Judy Blume, Norma Fox Mazer, and Cynthia Voigt -- plus the Flowers in the Attic series. My parents never intervened, and I agree that was the greatest lesson. When you respect a child's freedom to read, you're telling them you respect them.

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    1. Yes to respect, Megan! Age is such a ridiculous measure anyway. Varies so greatly from person to person... and in my experience you get out of a book exactly what you're ready for.

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  3. Sing it sista! Freedom is the answer. (and thanks for giving me a great idea for dinner conversation)

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    1. Singing with you, Tracy. :) We still break out the question box from time to time... and it's definitely part of our family culture.

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  4. I had the same experience growing up as Megan did...That really is true--it's a powerful thing being given respect when you're a child...

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    1. So glad this was your experience, Holly! Thanks for sharing. xo

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  5. Irene, I had the same experience with books. My mom never censored any of my choices--and I found great freedom in choosing and reading books. It opens up a whole world!

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  6. Exactly. I'd already chosen FREEDOM - before I read the rest of your dinner table convo. :-)

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  7. I love your story! I had that kind of freedom, too, and have to remember the wonder and joy of that for my own daughter. :-)

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