Weekly Thought – January 14, 2014
Fred took seriously his responsibilities to his friends and peers. He refused to slide when it came to making a contribution to a group. He believed our gifts were given to be helpful – and to be developed.
Part of Fred’s uniqueness was his ability to distill information into pithy, punchy “one-liners.” We now call them Fred Saids. On the breakfastwithfred.com website over 300 are archived. If you are a twitter fan, would you join our volunteer team of tweeters by choosing your favorites and sharing them with your followers? Thanks so much.
Owing Our Peers
I have a responsibility to my peers – to be an individualist.
Oftentimes when I am on college campuses, I ask how many consider themselves non-conformists. Typically, 75 to 95% raise their hands. Laughter usually breaks out. Very few admit to being a conformist because it is socially acceptable to think “outside the box.” When people uphold their right “to be me,” it has a connotation of revolutionary, but conformist.
Actually, the conformist and non-conformist have the same personality type for they are both outer directed. They both work to discern where the “in” line is — one to stand within and the other to stand without. I once knew a young executive woman who told me she loved boundaries. This surprised me for her personality didn’t reflect compliance. Then she explained, “Boundaries show me where the outside is.” She and her more rule-oriented associates are actually closer than either would admit.
The value of individuality, to me, is in providing a friendly attitude and creating an atmosphere of interest in what others are doing without sacrificing personal values and morals. It is good to join in enthusiastically, being helpful, but aware that when the group veers from accepted goals, I have the prerogative of stepping aside or challenging their decisions.
A personal aside – much talk about being a “free man” is hog wash. None of us is ever truly free. We all face death which makes the concept of total freedom unworkable. Being my own man doesn’t mean I am free of all responsibilities.
Freedom is defined by many as net worth. I have known many who consigned their lives to earning money to be free, only to realize they had marched to the drummer of materialism and slavery.
You know me well enough to know I have my very definite ideas about money. Mary Alice and I committed to savings when our total net worth was $5.00 and continued when zeroes were added to that number. I was ridiculed at times by my peers who felt it was their patriotic duty to live in debt. I knew what I believed and held my own financial counsel.
Individualism doesn’t exclude us from the group; individualism carries a responsibility of leadership in the group. Individualism isn’t freedom from, but freedom to.
Think carefully about: 1) How free am I? 2) What gives me true freedom? 3) How willing am I to stand against the group?
Words of Wisdom: “Individualism isn’t freedom from, but freedom to.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17 NET Bible)