In some ways, a kid has a lot of it. They’re free from work, from adult responsibilities, and as many parents will attest, inhibitions. However, as many kids will tell you, there’s are a great number of things a little person is not free to do. There are bedtimes, table manners, and rules about where they are and aren’t allowed to go by themselves.
Freedom is a huge, complex idea, one that great minds, have been pondering for millennia. It’s one that young minds think about quite a bit. There are wonderful conversations to be had with your child about their own freedom, and that of others.
Here are a some big questions to get you started:
- What things are you free to do, and what things are you not free to do? Can you make a list or a drawing for each?
- Are there things that you think you’re free to do, but really you aren’t? How about vice versa?
- How can you tell when you’re free? What does it feel like? Is feeling free always a good thing?
- Are there things that everyone should be free to do? Are there things we shouldn’t be free to do? Which things, and why?
- If everyone was free to do anything they wanted, anytime they wanted, what might happen?
- If we’re free to do things, does that mean we’re responsible for what happens when we do them?
- Can and should we protect the freedom of other people?
- Are plants and animals free too? Why or why not?
- Are robots and other machines free? How do we know?
- If someone takes your freedom away, can you get it back? How?
What are the benefits of chatting about freedom with your child? Well, for starters:
- It encourages ownership of their own actions, thoughts, and feelings, and encourages acceptance of responsibility.
- It fosters a sense of empathy for others, including the non-humans with which we share the planet.
- It opens up discussions about being civic-minded and involved in their community.
- It also widens a child’s perspective, and allows them to think globally.
So there you are. You’re free to talk about freedom with your child, and free to enjoy the wonderful outpouring of ideas they’ll have on the subject.