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278: How Are You Celebrating Independence Day?

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. (As defined by Wikipedia)
Happy July 4th America!
I’m not American, (I am Canadian) but I understand why Americans celebrate this holiday every year. It’s a very important day in America’s history. It is the day they claimed their independence. I was inspired by “Independence Day” after spending the day with my son. He “declared independence” from me and his Father today. I’m not sure if this is really considered a “give” but I felt like I had really given my son a gift today. We gave him freedom to choose, freedom to go as far as he wanted and freedom to test his wings – and he flew.
Day 278: Give 278

“The hardest part of love is letting go.”

Do you remember that song? I had to learn that lesson very quickly being a Mom. The first day my son started crawling he crawled right out the front door. I knew I was in trouble. By the age of 2 he was riding a scooter and a “big boy bike” with training wheels. We skipped the tricycle stage all together. Just after his 3rd birthday he told me to take the training wheels off his bike. I gave him a push and he was gone. Freedom tasted so sweet. He had control over a small part his life and a new sense of independence. We have ridden his bike almost every day since then. He has a need for speed, a greater need to do tricks, jumps and hills. My heart drops to my feet most days as he spins around the bike park and seawall.

The Fear Factor

I realized the day my son crawled out the front door I had to resist my need to hold him tight and keep him safe. I didn’t want to teach him fear everything he wanted to try. I could only be there to teach him to be safe and pick him up when he falls down.  Have you ever really thought about it? Babies aren’t born with fear for everything in our world. I think we teach them fear just to keep them safe sometimes. Fear keeps us all at bay at different times in our life.

Lions Gate Bridge

Nicolas literally wore out his first bike. He just received a beautiful new bike from his Dad and I – deep red, a hand brake and bell ready for new adventures. Today he wanted to take on Lions Gate Bridge. It’s not the first time he had rode his bike on the bridge but the last time was with his training wheels. This time we were going for our first family ride. We all had our bikes and off we went. My son not only rode over the bridge but all the way around Stanley Park – 12 km in total. It wasn’t until the final climb out of the park that he finally gave in and said he had had enough. We had our bike carrier handy and he sat down and promptly fell asleep as we made our way home.

I never thought my son would make it over Lions Gate Bridge. I never thought he would have the strength or the determination to ride around Stanley Park as well. We travelled at his speed, we took breaks when needed and kept him fuelled with healthy snacks. We gave him the choice to decide when he was done – not when we were done. He truly surprised us today but we gave him the space he needed to shine.

We let him have his own Independence Day on his own schedule and his own speed. No dragging around doing chores, no schedules to keep or places to run to. We gave him the gift to be free today. Obviously I have the next Lance Armstrong on my hands!

How do you let your kids shine independently of you? How do you encourage and support the individuality? How do you give your kids a sense of independence?  Share your story with us.

Time Commitment: 4 hours

Cost: 0 just time

What people are saying about 365give

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the teaching you provided today. Your message was delivered eloquently, compassionately, and without judgment. The kids were engaged, and now have knowledge with which they can change the world. We all appreciated how you took the time to help us learn to build positive mindsets and practice happiness.”
Shelley Gardner, Grade 6 Ridgeview Elementary (West Vancouver)
“Actions really do speak louder than words, which is why I believe the 365give Challenge has resonated throughout my community. Every give we do is so important to us and leaves us happier and appreciating our lives a little bit more than before.”
Mahina Niyozova (Tajikistan)
“After watching the 365give TEDx Talk, I was inspired to join and begin a daily giving program in India. Today, along with 12 other volunteer women, we provide 100 meals to local underprivileged children in Bangalore for school every day.”
Deepika Ahuja, Mom (Bangalore, India)
“My life has greater meaning now.”
Renate Jorge, @BeKindBrazil and 365give Member, Family Program (Brazil)
“I just wanted to share that 365give really helped me. I am a better person now, thank you.”
MayLee, 365give Member, Individual Program
“This 365give Challenge has really injected excitement and extra enthusiasm in each work day as I think about what we can do. It has motivated me and the students.”
Cristina Peters, School Counselor (New York City, USA)
“I have seen a huge shift in energy throughout my classroom since doing the 365give Challenge. The Challenge has empowered my students to make a positive difference in the school’s community and beyond.”
Cella Adriana, Special Needs Educator /The Holliswood School (New York City, USA)
“The 365give Challenge helps students understand their impact on others. It opens avenues for introducing and discussing global and local issues in classrooms. It is powerful to watch students of all ages think about how they can make a change in another person’s life with one small act.”
Jessica Hall, Primary Teacher, French Immersion at École Pauline Johnson (West Vancouver, Canada)