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Publisher: Acropolis Books, Inc.
ISBN: 1889051179

Family Freedom

          Bill: When our son, Jim, was approaching driving age, I explained to him that if young men don't value themselves highly, they try to compensate by acting strong and powerful. As part of this act, they often ride loud, powerful sounding motorcycles and make tires screech as they accelerate the cars they drive. Since Jim had not yet reached this stage, we both knew we were not talking about him, but about what he might observe his peers doing in a year or two. "I never thought about the connection between driving styles and the urge to seem strong and powerful," Jim mused, "but now the connection seems so obvious."

          As Jim and his peers began to drive, I referred back to our earlier conversation by asking if some of his friends put on the strong and powerful act. He smiled, and said, "Yes, they do." We were two men with an inside joke.

          Jim caught the point about driving styles, and he applied it further to also explain why some of his peers put on other acts to appear more manly. As a result, he was not unduly attracted to that scene, and instead, found friends who valued themselves and had no need to put on the macho-manly act. Jim made use of the information he received in advance to keep himself free from needing to act like a macho man.

          Win and I had developed a passion for freedom during our early years of marriage. I was an officer in the Navy then, and we endured long months of separation when my ship was engaged in overseas operations. We appreciated the sacrifice that Navy personnel and their families were making in giving up much of their own freedom to protect and insure freedom for the rest of our citizens.

          As we became a family, we had a strong desire to honor family freedom. We valued the spirit of freedom, and we knew that freedom is the foundation for a joyful family atmosphere. We realized that the freedom of each family member is important because the role each member has to play becomes a dynamic part of the whole family. A high priority for us was to preserve each family member's freedom so that person's role contributed, not only to the quality of life for that person, but to the quality of family living.

          When children become adolescents and teenagers, their individual freedom is more severely challenged than in earlier childhood. Whether or not these challenges from the culture are successfully met, determines and sometimes changes, the atmosphere for the entire family. Children lose individual freedom when they unthinkingly adopt the attitudes and beliefs of their peers rather than forming their own attitudes and beliefs. Their peers, in turn, may have unthinkingly adopted the fears and false beliefs of the culture, all of which inhibit individual freedom.

          How could we, as conscientious parents, realize our vision of family freedom and joy? We were faced with a dilemma . . .

          (You can read the conclusion of Chapter 16 in our book.)

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