My dad was a Good Dad even if he seemed backwards and out of touch at times. When I graduated from high school in 1978 my dad said, “Well, son, you will never sleep for free again.”
These were shocking words to me. I was a guy who had been spoon fed most of his life. It sounded like free was disappearing for me.
My dad went on to explain. “You can join the service, go to college, get an apartment, or pay room and board.” All of these options were going to cost me something.
I opted for the room and board. It was a painful $75 a month but considerably less than my mortgage today.
In truth, nothing is free. An education is not free. Service to your country is not free. An apartment or house is not free. Nothing is free. And Freedom itself is not free, either. Freedom costs us all. If we will not pay the cost of freedom then we will pay the higher cost of slavery to ourselves and to disappointment.
Nothing is free; not even freedom itself. Children who are not taught this will become greatly disadvantaged. They will become self-centered and entitled children who grow up to be angry and hopeless. They will blame others for the circumstances of life they cannot manage or negotiate. They will talk about how unfair life is and how stupid others are.
Sadly, self-centered and entitled children are the uneducated ones. What appears to be unfair is nothing other than poor education and equipping.
Life is not fair all the time. This doesn’t mean it is bad. It took my son six months to get his first job. Is this fair? It’s life. In contrast, my dad was out of work a half a dozen times during my childhood – sometimes months at a time. Both of them adjusted to their situation.
True freedom costs everyone. We all must sacrifice and give in to enjoy the freedom we desire. Or we all become slaves. One person’s freedom should never be at the expense of another person’s freedom.
For freedom to prevail we must defeat the oppressive enemy of our own selfish and entitled ways. We must surrender ourselves to the greater good of a free society. One person’s freedom of speech does not give him the right to yell “fire” in a theatre or to call another person a racially or sexually charged insult or name. The freedom of religion guarantees all people the freedom of religion whether someone else’s religion is the same as yours or not.
It is not easy being a Good Dad and it is not easy teaching your children good things. Freedom is not a matter of doing whatever you want, whenever you want. Rather, freedom is the power and the courage to do what is right.
Nothing in life is free – not even freedom itself. And that’s o.k.
Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at firstname.lastname@example.org