Thursday, 8 September 2011

The value of freedom.

At my school, we teach a values-based curriculum, and this month our 'value of the month' is freedom. It's an interesting one to start on because surely freedom means different things to different people? Freedom to the children in my class would mean very different things to children in a less economically developed country but this is really hard for my children to understand - freedom to them involves being able to play whenever they want to and not having to do things at school that they hate.

But actually, it's a fine line.

Am I any less free because I have to go to work? Are the children in my class any less free because if they step one toe out of line (yes, I'm being a demon teacher at the moment) they get told off? Does that compromise our freedom or do we simply have to balance freedom with responsibility in order to appreciate it? Or do we have to keep our responsibilities because it contributes to living in a free country where we are free to make our own life choices?

And who controls our freedom? Even as an adult I don't feel 'free' because I have senior management going on about planning, I spend all of my 'free time' doing paperwork and can't do what I want at the weekend because I have no money. So, to get even deeper, if I didn't go to work and earned money, how much freedom would I actually have? Not much, I reckon, because despite being a 'free country', it's actually an expensive world. My choices are limited and to be truly free from everything, I think, would be impossible.

Any thoughts?


Emma said...

I know exactly what you mean. At the moment, I'm working in a job that I never saw myself doing just because it was the first (of many) that I applied to that actually accepted me. I'm doing it to get money, but the hours are horrible and all the money is going to do is allow me to pay rent and bills. I don't have time to go out and spend the rest of the money the 'fun' way.

I'm not sure what freedom is. To me, it's being able to work for yourself, when you want to, and earning enough money to keep doing that. But even that comes with challenges, so who knows.

Anonymous said...

I think when one uses the word freedom, or the word responsibility- it needs to acknowledge the ties it has with participation- which links in with empowerment. Empowerment comes in on many levels and in many forms- for example, you feeling as though you can't participate in senior level meetings that infringe on your decision-making ability? That's about participation and empowerment that impacts your responsibilities and your freedoms.

For me, freedom isn't about my decision making abilities. It is about the larger- being able to make decisions. It's not just about -me- and how it impacts me as an individual, it's about how I form part of a larger structure and how these things intersect and collate.

And, as an interesting note- given that it's value-based education, surely all values hold different meanings and different understandings for people.. not just the concept of freedom?


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