One of the greatest myths of freedom is belief that freedom granted externally leads to internal freedom. “Freedom that leads to responsibility is not given or granted; it is obtained by internal efforts. A child develops not by freedom itself, as some people think, but by the child’s own actions to obtain freedom, by the child’s self-liberation,” states Simon Soloveychik.
Suppose we have two homes. In one home children are not allowed to act freely in most cases. They don’t feel free. They strive to liberate themselves from parents’ petty prohibitions, and often the children’s strength is exhausted in this fight. By the time they have a chance to be free from parents they exchange their freedom for dependence on their peers.
In another home the children’s actions are limited by very few rules. These children feel free. Yet, they too strive for freedom. They strive to liberate themselves from the limitations of life. They strive to break free from weakness of character, from cowardice, from social injustice. When they become teenagers and separate from their parents they are ready to meet their peers and be independent from them. They have strength to stand against negative peer pressure because they have experienced freedom.
Unfortunately many parents think that just providing a free environment is enough for raising internally free, responsible people. Modern parenting books based on psychology consider the topic of responsibility. But psychology doesn’t investigate the causes and roots of responsibility. It doesn’t speak in terms of internal freedom or self-liberation. These topics belong to the domain philosophy.