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If someone asked you, “What do you think freedom is?, how would you respond? Many would say that freedom is the ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want. And although there are no right or wrong answers on what freedom is, in this episode Martin Fitzgerald explains that some of us think we are free, when in reality we tend to be trapped into bad routines without realising it. For example, you may feel free when you enjoy a coffee every day, but if you couldn’t go a single day without a coffee, are you really feel free?

“I think there’s a deeper understanding of freedom, which can help parents.”

How You Can Use Your Freedom

When we look at freedom, a lot of the time we think about what we are free from. Whether we are free from poverty, violence, or stress etc. But Martin explains in this episode that you could really be using your freedom to live your best life. He states that:

“All of a sudden, it’s not about getting away from things. It’s about the decision to actually do something, or to do the absolute best you possibly could.”

The Choice Of Freedom

When we make our own decisions, we feel a sense of freedom. For example, if you were working in customer service, it is likely that you are expected to smile and provide great service. If you walk into work and decide yourself that smiling would make your customers feel better, you wouldn’t feel like you’ve lost your sense of freedom. However, if you waited until your supervisor told you that you should be smiling, you would likely feel like you’ve lost your freedom. The idea is that when we make the right choices for ourselves, we will feel a sense of freedom.

For example, if you demand that your teenage daughter spend every Saturday entertaining her siblings and doing chores around the house, the chances of her doing so happily are slim. However, if she was asked, and had observed you happily spending Saturday as a family, she may choose to spend her Saturday with family more willingly, and perhaps even regularly!  

The idea is that when we make the right choices for ourselves, we feel a sense of freedom.

“We need to be able to exercise self-discipline, in order to be free properly.”

Self-Discipline Results in Freedom

Self-discipline is an important process in developing freedom. When we practice self-discipline, we make our own rules and welive by them. But these rules are not easy just because we make them, they are difficult steps that we put into place so that we can be the best versions of ourselves . For example, setting rules for ourselves such as, “I will go to the gym every Wednesday night” or “I will not touch my phone past 9pm”, require consistent effort and repetition to have a good effect, and even then it doesn’t necessarily become ‘easy’, but ‘easier’ . It is important to produce ideas that can improve yourself discipline.

“The aim of life is not to be comfortable; the aim of life is to love people.” — Martin Fitzgerald

This article was inspired by episode #20 of The Parent-Teacher Project entitled Freedom: Raising Your Children To Make Meaningful Choices with Martin Fitzgerald & Nathan Frazer.

Listen to the entire episode below.

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