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July 4, 2016

Independence Day

When my kids were much younger, I bought them each a fake-parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence, then had it nicely matted and framed. I told them they could decorate their rooms however they wanted, except they had to hang these Declarations somewhere visible.

Hannah and Brandon were cool with this because the cool movie, National Treasure, had just come out. If you remember, that plot was about a treasure map written on the back of the famous American document. But this was not the main reason I bought copies for them.

No, the main reason was to remind them of two things. One, words can change the world, and few have been as powerful as “all men are created equal.”

Two was more personal: I wanted them to know their main job as our children is to grow up and out of our immediate care. I wanted them to declare their own independence from us. Unlike England, however, we were actually going to support them in this endeavor.

Does this mean I want them to sever all ties as they start to launch? Of course not. Does it mean I want to never support them, in any way, as they get older and more mature? Of course not.

What it does mean is the best way they can prepare themselves for a successful life, and the best way we can prepare them as well, is to get clear about the future: You were born to launch out of our nest, and out on your own someday, and your mom and dad are not scared of that fact.

Peace begins with pause,

screamfree hal runkel


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