Saturday, November 04, 2006

Freedom & Responsibility

While writing yesterday’s blog entry I came across an article written by Elizabeth Lane Lawley. Her blog titled Mamamusings had an insightful article titled “The Freedom / Responsibility Curve”. On August 3rd 2006 she wrote…

The Freedom/Responsibility Curve
Lane and I are in my office this evening, and we just heard a staff member and a student having a discussion in the hallway. The staff member was (I think) talking about his small child, and he was bemoaning the fact the child seems not to appreciate how good his or her life is.

In an aggravated tone, the staff member said "I mean, you get the first five years of your life free, and maybe the last five years, and the rest of the time in between you're working your ass off at school or at work. Why can't kids appreciate how good they've got it during those first five years?"

Lane looked at me and said "It's true, isn't it?"

And I said "Not if you pick the right job."

We talked about it a bit, and I ended up drawing this curve on my whiteboard:

Little kids, I told him, have few responsibilities, it's true. No school, no work. But they have very little freedom to match that. Other people tell them what to do, and how and when to do it.

As you get older, your responsibilities increase, but along with it so does your freedom.

If your responsibilities get too overwhelming, your freedom starts to decrease again, to where you have no time to do anything than what's required of you by others.

So, somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot...where you've got enough responsibility to be able to earn your freedom, but not so much that you're trapped by it.

I don’t know anything about Ms. Lawley but she seems to be onto something here. There is a direct connection between Freedom & Responsibility. Just this past week I had the opportunity to learn (yet again) that although I may have the freedom to act a certain way, I’m still responsible for my actions. Freedom to act is not freedom from responsibility. Saint Paul put it this way in his first letter to the church at Corinth:

Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

Lord, I ask to be both free & responsible. I pray that in my freedom I might do those things that are permissible, beneficial and constructive… amen.

© Tom Zawacki 2006

1 comment:

  1. That was nicely put. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand.