Watching fireworks on the 4th of July is a wonderful tradition but, what does independence mean to us?
On the Fourth day of July each year, Americans celebrate our INDEPENDENCE as a nation. But, what does independence mean? Is it simply the removal of Dependence from another or is this something more?
Is Dependence bad?
Think about what Dependence means… to depend on another. Don’t we want to be able to depend on each other? Isn’t that a good thing? I believe that dependence is, like many other things, a two-edged sword. If we were all truly independent – not depending on, nor being able to depend on anyone else, what would that mean? Only a few of us could survive. Grow our own food, build our own homes, fight off wild creatures and so on. So, why is it that Dependence has such a negative connotation?
As I thought about this, I remembered some of the things I learned in business school. In business, you are always keeping score. Everything is recorded as either an Asset or a Liability. Assets are considered as positives and Liabilities as negative. You can’t run a business without both.
Liabilities are actually a recording of the dependencies for the company. The things you need to borrow or what you owe to someone else which allow your business to grow and flourish. A good business manager knows that using these things gives them leverage. A way to take advantage of the skills and assets of others in order to increase your success without having to do everything on your own. Sounds good, right? So, why do we see this as a negative?
People, assets or liabilities?
I think it comes down to a question of how we view people – as either assets or liabilities. If a business views its employees as an asset, something that the company depends on in order to be successful, then those people should be treated with respect and rewarded for their skills and hard work. If they are seen as a liability, a dependency to be minimized, a cost to be reduced, then they are disposable. Viewed as expenses that are only things to be taken advantage of and then dumped when they are not convenient.
Our founding fathers must have understood what it is like to be in that second category. England started out to be our beneficent protector. A great power that we depended on to provide us with goods that we could not produce on our own and a strong defender that kept away others that wanted what we had. The colonies were not able to fend for themselves and would have perished without this help.
Over time, this relationship changed much like that of a parent and a child. In this case, it was an over-controlling parent that expected the child to remain subservient and respectful but never wanting the child to grow up and leave the house. The role of a good parent is to love and protect the child and prepare them to become successful adults. The good parent knows that doing this does not cause them to become less (loss of control over the child) but to become more (a prosperous and successful family).
A question of balance
The key to understanding this question of dependency is to understand that this is a two-way street. A business is made more successful when they can depend on their employees and suppliers and vice-versa. The whole becomes more than the parts. But, when the relationship stops being a partnership and becomes a one-sided power grab, the system is out of balance.
We all need to realize that independence is not the goal. The goal is to be able to be able to depend on each other and to believe that everyone deserves to be respected and treated well. If we care for each other and not just for ourselves, then we become better as a group. If we only care about our own fortunes then it becomes a game of king of the hill. Only the strongest win by knocking the weaker down.
It is my hope that we, as a world community, can begin to strive for this balance. In the light of the contentious presidential campaign in the US, the Brexit vote in the UK and the continuation of terrorist bombings around the world, it seems to me that we are out of balance.
The world does not need a bunch of totally independent nation-states looking to wield power over each other. We have seen this in the past. We need to become a family. Looking out for children in need and helping each other to grow. Perhaps if we could become more dependent on each other and realize that this brings with it, a responsibility for the welfare of our neighbors, then we each can have the independence to be greater as a whole.
Alpharetta July 4th Festivities and Fireworks
American Legion Post 201
201 Wills Road
Alpharetta, Georgia, USA
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
16mm at 5.6 seconds f/13 ISO 125
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