Norman Rockwell painted a set of paintings called the Four Freedoms. He painted these four paintings, Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Worship in just four months. As I look at these paintings I see four things that I want my children never to take for granted and to always treasure.
It is my duty to see to it that my children are protectors of the Land of Promise . “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)
I have the sacred duty of making sure my children are free from want, from fear and free to speak and worship as they will. As I homeschool my children I instill in them these freedoms every day and in every lesson. I have taught them that even if life gets tough we have Heavenly Father on our side and we shouldn’t fear. I remember sitting around the television on September 11, 2001, and thinking to myself as well as expressing to my children that we shouldn’t be afraid. We had been following the commandments of God and we will be protected and even if something were to happen to us we had been baptized and sealed together as a family. I knew that we shouldn’t fear what happened or what will happen, as long as we are righteous and obey the commandments. I still feel the same today and so do my children. We are truly free from fear.
The freedom from want is one that I feel strongly obligated to teach my sons. They will one day be the head of a household and have to provide for their family. I want them to be able to get and keep a good and honest job, to be good citizen, a wonderful father, a faithful husband and an obedient Priesthood holder. I only have one daughter and I want her to be able to choose a young man like the ones I am raising. That means I need to educate my children so that they can be good family members, citizens and spouses. I want my children to always live free from want.
The founding fathers put “freedom of speech” as part of the first amendment to the United States Constitution. It is upon this principle that the gospel was able to reach my family and my husband’s family. Thankfully both of these families join the Church and today practice the freedom of speech. I can attest that my children are not afraid to speak their minds and do so regularly. One day my sons will be able to practice their freedom of speech as they take the gospel message to others. We are free to speak.
Along with freedom of speech, the first Amendment also says that Congress can “…make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” As our family has been studying different cultures the past few years, our hearts are sadden when we read about governments who had or still have laws dictating to their citizens what and who they will call their gods and who and how they will worship. As my family has studies our family history in our school we have found that our family has not always enjoyed the freedom of worship.
In the 1840’s Norwegians didn’t welcome the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our family suffered because of the persecution. In the 1500’s our family was thrown out of two countries for their religious beliefs and that same family was thrown out of England in the 1600’s because they worshiped differently than the government told them to. I never want my children to fear because of how they worship. We are free to worship.
As the United States of America celebrates its 232th birthday, think about the freedoms we enjoy. Not just the four freedoms that Norman Rockwell painted about, but the freedoms we get because we live in the free country we do. The freedom we get because we are serving the Lord and the freedoms we get because we are a Child of God. My family, like those in Normal Rockwell’s paintings, is free from want and fear, free to speak and worship and we are free to choose life, love, happiness and righteousness. My God always bless us with freedom forever.