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Happy 4th! Amid the hot dog cookouts, watermelon stains, and spraying yourself with water, to keep from burning alive, in the heat, I hope you're able to do some relaxing and maybe even reflecting on what freedom means to you, and your family.

There's a lot of talk, these days, about an individual's "freedom to <fill in the blank>". In fact, there's almost MORE talk about the infractions caused by infringing on those freedoms. We are inundated with story after story of one person expressing and another person being offended. I'm starting to wonder if our children will truly understand what freedom is about and how to respectfully disagree.

So, in the spirit of the occasion and more, in full respect for those men and women who sacrificed and who continue to sacrifice their good, for ours, here are some ideas of freedoms you can encourage your children with today, and throughout the school year:

Freedom to be yourself. On our Students Lifestyle section, we're talking about fighting against the pressure to be who everyone else says we need to be. You may tell your child how loved they are, by you, just the way they are, but do they believe it for themselves? Encourage and challenge them to embrace all that they are.

Freedom to be respectful and kind. We don't live on islands. We're also not inhabitants of The Stepford Wives community. Because of those truths, we will annoy each other, disagree, and feel defensive when our thoughts and opinions are challenged. Respect and kindness always wins.

Freedom to make a difference. There is definitely one thing our society does NOT need and that is one more bandwagon for people to jump on. People who change the climate of their environment are often some of the most humble, self-sacrificing people, on the planet. Encourage your children to lose themselves (after they have embraced themselves <wink>), for the good of another person. Being a servant will make a longer-lasting difference than any ride-along-wagon ever could.

Here's to freedom. Something you and I were given, having nothing to do with our performance or position. But, let's not take it for granted or short-change our children, by flippantly celebrating it, every July. Start the beneficial conversation of what true freedom looks like...and be a glowing example of its undeniable rewards.

Feeling trapped in your conversations with your child? Text us.

We would love to help! 817-835-9898

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