That First Taste of Freedom

On Monday, July 4th, millions of US citizens will celebrate our Independence Day. It's a day that recognizes our official declaration of no longer being a part of the British empire in 1776, to put it succinctly. There will be fireworks and parades and all kinds of fun stuff going on as people revel in the fact that we are no longer subject to eating kidney pie or blood pudding, unless we want to, or drinking non-French wine because of some ongoing kerfuffles between England and France.

For some of our romance heroes and heroines, independence--or the seeking of it--is a driving force that motivates our characters. It's that important. Gaining one's independence in some area of life can be a major milestone, and as this day approaches this year, I find myself trying to remember what my first taste of independence was and when it was. When was that moment that I truly did something on my own? For many people, it's going off to kindergarten or pre-school. For others, it's riding a bike around the neighborhood. For some, they truly didn't feel independent until they got their first job or got their driver's license.

Looking back, there are many instances where I gained my independence, whether knowingly or not, but one does stand out to me. I was probably in the 3rd grade, and we were working on numbers from 1-100. We had to write them out as digits on sheets of paper with big squares on them. I knew mine already, and it was just a matter of writing them out. I remember my teacher at the time, who was a nice lady, telling the class that if we didn't get our number sheets done, we'd have to stay in at recess and do them. For some reason that day, I didn't want to go out to recess. I thought it would be nice to just sit in the empty classroom and write out my numbers leisurely, and so I didn't hurry to complete my work. Because I wasn't done when recess came, I had to stay in and complete the assignment, but it was what I had chosen to do. It was probably the first real decision I ever made about my education.

I often wonder if the teacher thought I was having difficulty learning my numbers or if she thought I was being disrespectful, because I think missing recess was supposed to have been a punishment. What kid wants to miss recess? Me, on that particular day. I had been offered two choices, and I chose to stay in and take my time on my work. I don't remember her being upset about it, but I know lots of teachers and I think they often wonder why "good" kids sometimes "get into trouble." I think sometimes students don't see certain options as punishments, like I did way back when, and they make decisions based on the choices given.

Anyway, that was my first taste of "freedom" in terms of making a decision for myself, that I remember, about school. What about you? What was your first adventure in gaining your independence? Please do share. Happy reading!

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