Publisher: Acropolis Books, Inc.
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
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
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.)