Way back, almost 45 years ago, there was a record album (yes, that’s what we had back then) for kids. It was the brainchild of actress Marlo Thomas. A gift, so she thought, for her niece who was 4 years old and exploring what it meant to be a little girl.
Helping one person became a cultural phenomenon.
Marlo, frustrated because of all the gender specific books that had boys as pilots and girls as stewardesses, and so on, began the project of putting together songs that gave kids the novel idea they could be whatever they wanted.
Girls can grow up to be mommies and doctors; boys can play with dolls.
Children, at home and in school, were encouraged to think of themselves as unique and create their own amazing stories to tell.
How far have we come?
It’s better – yet, we still have a long way to go.
Freedom is both an inner and an outer responsibility. Too many are still locked in gilded cages, not paying attention to the fact that the door to the cage is open. It only needs one push and off you go.
Too often, there is a victim mentality that puts the blame for not accomplishing things on others. Inner freedom means owning your life and finding the ways to untie the knots (and the ‘nots’) that hold you back.
Freedom as an outer responsibility means knowing when to push for change and when to wait. It is a tremendous discipline to decide when to speak out and when to stay quiet.
Who out there is ready to write the songs of today? Who can engage today’s youngsters to think about freedom in this digital age, when what you think, can have an instant worldwide audience?
Today’s “Free to Be…You and Me” would include songs to underscore gay rights, economic inequality, body image and bullying.
It would also include stories and songs about our beloved Mother Earth and the need to keep our home planet in good shape.
An important part of being free is in understanding the power in relationships that are equal and respectful. Please enjoy meeting Princess Atalanta from the original album. She is a great example of clarity, strength and talking truth to power.
Enjoy and have a happy, fun time celebrating our country’s freedom that our forefathers and foremothers fought so hard to give to us.
Let’s keep the inner and outer fight for real freedom going. It’s what the world needs now.
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