Several years ago I assigned my students the task of telling a story from their life on a website called VoiceThread. VoiceThread combines pictures and voice and allows people to comment on your story, leaving written or spoken comments or even drawing on the photos; more about that later. I wanted their story to have a theme and say something about life, you know, all those things English teachers get excited about. I created my own VoiceThread to show the kids as an example of what I was looking for. I recently came across the script for that example. Here is the link to the original with pictures and everything. Years ago I quit checking the comments for something intelligent as the rare compliment or insight wasn’t worth wading through all the drawings of pee-pees and wee-wees. My students’ stories are still there. I haven’t checked them out. Here is my original. It’s called Freedom.
As a kid, like all kids, I longed for freedom. Freedom from my parents, freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. To be honest, I didn’t have that much to rebel against. I was expected to make decent grades and stay out of trouble. But I had a pretty liberal curfew, and got my driver’s license when I was in the 8th grade.
And I didn’t give my parents much to worry about. Yeah, I was one of those kids. Didn’t drink, smoke or fool around. My friends and I had mostly good clean fun and mostly stayed out of trouble. After high school I went to college.
This was a bit of a change. My good-clean-fun friends and I all went different directions. At K-State I lived in a house with 20 or so other guys. Suddenly it was up to me to get to class, get to church and mostly stay out of trouble. Two out of three, as they say, ain’t bad. The biggest change for me at college was how much more freedom I had. How much freedom did I have? More than I needed.
When I found myself graduated, I wasn’t quite ready to give up that freedom. While my friends were interviewing for jobs, I was making arrangements to travel overseas. I found work at a pub, which I loved; the pub, not the work. I worked six days a week and was paid pretty well. Not the free-est time of my life, except that I could leave anytime I wanted.
Which I did after a few months. With money and a train pass in my pocket, I caught any train I wanted to any destination I could afford. After a few months I came back to the states, traveled some more, worked some more, when to school some more. I was pretty much doing whatever I wanted. It was pretty sweet.
It was during this period that I met my wife. Well, she wasn’t my wife yet. But she would be soon. Less than a year after our first date, we were hitched. After a semester of student teaching were packed our bags and moved to Virginia.
We found jobs, friends, and adventure. Eventually we bought our first house. In the meantime we continued to play. When school wasn’t in session we could pretty much do whatever we wanted. We went to the beach, movies, restaurants, concerts, and parties.
Eventually we found our way back to the Midwest, decided to settle down, raise a family. That’s what I’ve been up to for the last seven years or so. Being dad. Playing ball, teaching manners, tickling, snuggling, sometimes lecturing. Spending time.
Makes it tricky to run off to Europe or the beach or the bars any time I want. And there are times when I do have that urge. When that happens I might put on some music, maybe look at some old pictures. It’s never long before somebody says, “Dad, let’s play?” And I’m off to bigger and better things. How much freedom do I have? All I need.