Freedom is something that is rather elusive to the people who strive for it. Teenagers want it; the suppressed fight for it; the suppressors control it. In the end, when freedom is finally given, they don’t know what to do with it. So, those who have the power to control the freedom of others, such as teachers, principals, education officials and ministers, presidents and tyrants, would tend to believe in the notion that too much freedom is bad for everyone, so it should be restricted as much as possible to avoid any kind of revolt. So parents have no freedom in choosing the school of their choice for their children (in the case of public schools); teachers have no freedom in choosing the school of their choice to teach in and students have no freedom to choose the subjects that they want to learn, and a subject has no freedom in choosing one’s ruler in a country ruled by absolute power. Everything has been allocated. Everything has been assigned. Everything has been decided. There is nothing else to do but to follow.
But in the age of internet explosions – a borderless world – where choices is the rule of the day – people are getting used to the idea of having the freedom in choosing what they really want, from fashionable tee-shirts to designer coffee and even banned books and music! But that is freedom that can be bought with money. In this sense, money does seem to buy anything!
But in our life, are we truly free to choose the kind of government that we want, or the kind of education that we prefer, or the kind of development that we dream for? Can kids be free to choose what they want to learn, and when they want to learn? Can mothers choose how and where they want to give birth? Can babies be free to choose when they want to be fed and how? There is a genuine fear in awarding freedom because there is no trust in the people we give freedom to. Often, we do not even trust ourselves to make the right choices. So how do we trust our children with freedom? Will they misuse it? Will they take advantage of it? Will they use it against us?
We need to learn to understand them. We need to learn to trust them. We need to learn how to learn in freedom. We need to know what freedom is and what comes hand-in-hand with it. Otherwise we will continue to play catch-the-mouse with it and going in circles trying to catch the elusive thing called freedom. We need to stop running and start facing it without fear. We need to embrace it in our daily lives with ourselves, with our children and with our country.
We will never taste freedom if our mind isn’t free to think intelligently, creatively and compassionately. So in all our lives, we should value the freedom to live peacefully, to learn creatively and to think wisely.
Birds should not be caged. Animals should not be leashed. Minds should not be controlled.
Cut the cage. Cut the leash. Free the mind!