It’s all Rachel’s fault. On Independence Day, she posted on the Thomas Jefferson Education Facebook page, “Define, compare and contrast: Independence/Freedom/Liberty . . . .” I have pondered those words for a couple of weeks now. What is Independence? What is Freedom? What is Liberty?
Independence is the opposite of dependence. And before the laughing begins, really think about what that means. The degree to which one is Independent is the degree to which one is not dependent on others. One who is Independent is exempt from others’ power and control, without their bias or influence, and is able to support and direct her/himself.
According to the Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language,* to be Independent is “to be separate from,” “bold,” “not connected with,” and “not obsequious.” I had to look that word up. Among other things, it means “yielding to the desires of others, properly to the will or command of a superior, but in actual use, it often signifies yielding to the will or desires of such as have not right to control.” Isn’t that interesting? Independence includes not yielding to those who have no right to control. Hence, The Declaration of Independence.
As a mother, I can only imagine the feelings of Abigail Adams when ten year-old John Quincy left their home in Braintree, Massachusetts, to travel with his ambassador father to Europe for the first time.
While the young man was there, he attended private schools in Paris and the Netherlands, became proficient in three languages, and traveled to Russia at age fourteen, serving as secretary and translator to diplomat Francis Dana. When he returned to the United States at age 18, he attended Harvard, graduating in two years. He then studied law with Theophilus Parsons for three years before passing the bar and becoming an attorney in Boston.
How did John and Abigail Adams prepare this young man to become a practicing attorney, foreign diplomat, Harvard professor, U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State, and U.S. President? Both parents had experienced mentoring and had a great education themselves; they valued education in their home and carefully prepared the environment of learning for all their children; and they entrusted the further education of their son to other great mentors.
Bonjour! I'm Bonnie. I love learning, travel, reading, writing, photography, and all things French. I am especially passionate about agency education, the humanities, and using history as the hook for all learning!
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