SALT LAKE CITY — This week, we celebrated the 4th of July — also known as Independence Day. This is the day when our country marks the anniversary of becoming a free country — free from the rule of Great Britain.
In 1776, John Adams proclaimed that July 4 “will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. … It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
From that day forth, we have done just that in celebration of our independence. Why is that? Why do we love our independence so much that when granted, we have such feelings of excitement and jubilee?
In answer to this question, I don't have to go too far — I merely have to look at my 3-year-old daughter. Whenever I try to help her do anything — from washing her hair to getting her dressed — the words that come out of her mouth are, “I'll do it myself.”
The times when I insist on helping her are the times when frustration abounds. There are many tears shed — on both sides — and the outcome is never what I envisioned. Although her hair may look beautiful and her outfit matches from head to toe, her face is red from crying and includes a lingering frown to match.
When I allow her the freedom to exert her independence, the outcome is most always better. She may end up wearing mismatched clothes, her hair may contain three different-colored hair bands and she may or may not have the clothing tags facing in the right direction, but one thing is very much there — the smile and excitement that come as a result of accomplishing something on her own. These exertions of independence may sound minimal to many, as I am merely in the beginning stages. I am very aware of the fact that my kids will be tweens, teens and young adults. I know that there will be more difficult challenges ahead. There will be dating, driving and weddings — just to name a few.
As parents, it is difficult to allow our children to do things independently. For starters, we all want the best for our kids and often feel our way is superior. For some of us, the difficulty comes in viewing our children's independence as a sign we're no longer needed.
The problem with this logic is that they are based upon the exertion of power and control. These are two things against which we instinctively fight — things that not only frustrate us but also hinder our ability to grow, to be who we want to be, how we want to be and to go where we want to go. We need our independence and rejoice in our ability to do things on our own.
It is no wonder that on the anniversary of the day America became a free country, we celebrate with “... pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other.”
There is nothing like the freedom to choose — the freedom to be who we want to be and the freedom of independence.
So as we celebrate our country's independence, let us remember to celebrate the same in respect to our children. Let them make their own choices. Let them be who they are and what they want to be.
Let them be independent.
Arianne Brown is a graduate from SUU, mother to five young kids, and an avid runner. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org,