We truly understand freedom when we accept who we are, where we come from, and where we want to go. Today, society is venturing down a road where families are no longer important. Families nowadays are viewed as disposable and as insignificant in our lives. Individuals perceive the family as an obstacle that blocks them from living freely and pursuing their own adventures. Our world is becoming one in which we have no roots, and in which we pretend that no one taught us what it means to be a human being in the first place. We attempt to forget our past and believe that we can go about life without boundaries or liabilities. Sometimes we want to believe that we are free and that we arrived at where we are on our own and without help from others. However we will never be free if we fail to accept our roots, and understand family as the supporting foundation of our character.
At school and at college we learn how to perfect our trades and professions, but it is within the family that we learn how to act as human beings. There are many basic components that make us human, and we learn these behaviors in our first years of life. We learn to follow certain moral and ethical codes, we learn to insert our individual selves into a network, into a larger family, of coexisting humans, but most importantly, we learn how to love. Love is the necessary ingredient to understanding the value of family. It is inside the family where we can see true love: selfless, committed and pure. In the hardest of times, in the deepest parts of a broken family, love still exists, and that love is what ultimately keeps us strong throughout our entire lives.
We need to look back upon our past and our families through the lens of that same love. If we view our past negatively as a burden, we will regulate our future according to all of the burdens we never want to bear again. On the contrary, if we want authentic freedom, we must accept our roots and understand our past as a single positive experience, which has shaped us into the human beings we are. This perspective enables us to build a future based on our dreams, and enables us to actualize those dreams in reality.
This is the gift which my family has given me: the tools to build a present full of dreams and empty of regrets. My family gave me a life in which every experience was necessary for me to become the person that I am today. They gave me love, they gave me freedom.
By Felipe Castillo, a WYA member from Colombia