This is probably one of the strangest Independent Day Weekends I can imagine during my lifetime. It’s hard to fathom that fireworks won’t be going off in many cities. Fun Festivals have been cancelled all around the country and yet even with all the cancellations, it’s expected that we celebrate our Independence. I suppose that the notion of Independence is thrust upon whatever notion you may perceive that Independence is. There are so many issues that are political hot topics right now that the argument could be made that we aren’t free. Our forefathers fought so that we would have the right to disagree. Unfortunately, that same right is always causing so much turmoil that many are using this notion to combat violence with violence. Hate with hate, spewing vicious attacks of murder and looting. No, two wrongs don’t make a right. The Black Lives Matter Movement is making sure that people understand that we will never be free until equality is truly equal.
If you ever saw the movie “The Greatest Showman” then you saw how people who were different were ostracized, but they were given a chance with a platform where they felt safe to show who they really were. They had been hidden in the shadows because their families were ashamed of them. Because of the fact that one man had the vision to promote a show unlike any other, these men and women were granted an Independence they had never experienced previously. In fact, in many ways, they were given a family who grew in Independence together. They experienced hatred, bullying, and cruelty because they were different. But it was their differences that gave them the Unconventional Independence they never thought they would have been able to achieve otherwise.
Strength comes from within our core. There’s no doubt about that but sometimes we are all fighting battles that no one knows. Take the manor woman who has more inner anguish than anyone can fathom. He/She may be you or someone you know. On the outside he/she looks as if he’s on top of the world, but on the inside his/her Independence is slipping away. He/She may become a prisoner to his/her own demons. Independence means different things to all of us. An elderly person resents the fact that their joints and muscles don’t work the way they used to. They detest not being able to remember things or to be unable to care for themselves. They were once in their prime and now look in the mirror and see their Independence slipping away. They have to count on others to drive them places or to get necessities or even take care of their personal needs. To them, their ability to remain Independent is disappearing quickly.
Parents who raise children face Independence issues with their kids. Their kids want to prove they can accomplish various tasks without assistance and sometimes they are just too little or inexperienced to handle those tasks. As a child, we all wanted to prove our Independence. We thought we knew everything and couldn’t wait to prove our parents wrong. Sometimes we did. Other times, we would fall flat on our face.
There are folks all over the world who are trying to regain their Independence from Slavery. Human Trafficking is real. It affects young boys and girls and many of them do not survive their captivity. They are stripped of their rights. What’s wild is that many of them thought they were going to do things very differently than where they ended up. Some of them were lured away on what they thought would be a wonderful modeling job. Others may have had different stories but the out come is the same. When our Independence is threatened or taken away, we lose a big part of ourselves. It becomes difficult to not go through the motions but to rather exist.
Teenagers who just get their drivers license feel a sense of Independence. For the first time in their lives, they are in complete control of a motor vehicle. There’s a thrill of adrenaline that pumps throughout their bodies and minds. Many of these kids feel invincible. There’s a streak of danger that they encounter and sometimes they don’t pay attention and it can cost them their lives or the lives of others. It’s not just teenagers. That rule applies to anyone behind the wheel of a car. Our actions could have repercussions that take away our own Independence or others Independence. The bottom line is that we are all conditioned to rebel. But that rebellion doesn’t always come at a cheap cost. In order for us to be Independent, we have to take control.
Control is hard. Especially in the working world. Most of us work for someone else. When you are an Independent owner, you are responsible for everything. Maintaining your own sense of Independence and allowing your employees some Independence comes at a price. Everyone fulfills a role. The question becomes what role will they inhabit? I try to give my assistant as much of a sense of ownership as possible. When she is at the store, she’s representing the company. Even though she’s only here one day a week, she’s the face that everyone deals with on the weekend. It’s critical that she feel that this isn’t just a job but rather a place that she doesn’t have to dread being at. I’ve found that when employees are happier and given more responsibility and Independence, that they produce more. Customer service may be a dying art but it’s still necessary if you want your business to remain Independent of closing. With all the businesses that have suffered over the last few years, it truly is a testament to those who have been on the front lines. They have managed to keep so many of us from falling prey to harmful diseases and help us to protect our loved ones from getting sick so that we can all maintain our sense of Independence.
So this weekend, I hope that you are able to recognize the ways that you still have your Independence. Be thankful for the time that you are granted with those you love. If you can cookout with your family, then enjoy the food and music. We all have an Independence that we maintain. It’s in virtually every facet of our lives. Even though I can’t go out and enjoy the festivities with a Fun Fourth Festival and watch the firework display this year, I’m thankful that I can remain Independent with the choice to make my own decisions and decide for myself what’s important to me and how I choose to live my life. So this holiday, my wish for you is simple. Have a safe and wonderful Fourth of July weekend and treasure all the ways of Independence in your lives. The freedoms we have were not free. Many lives were lost for us to have the privileges that we do. There are many in other countries that can’t experience what we do.