usflag640Ironically, leaving the United States gives me a better perspective on our country’s beloved freedom.  I wanted to share my thoughts in celebration of Independence Day.  Regardless of your location in the world, I hope this gives you pause to reflect on – and appreciate – the freedoms you value most.

Freedom to Dream:  Can you imagine not dreaming of success or a better life? After working in former Soviet states, I’ve seen the tragedy of the human mind suppressed by communism. It’s almost impossible for most Americans to understand the limits a mind that has been trained to not dream beyond your present circumstances.  I’m grateful to have been raised to believe anything is possible.

Freedom to Choose: I didn’t used to think about choice very often, but the increasing political correctness in the U.S. brings protection of choice to the forefront. I deeply believe in choice, whether in simple issues such as food or more complicated subjects such as religion or protecting human rights over animal rights. I learned in Egypt that some people choose to follow different customs – and that’s O.K.  We are humans and were not all created to fit the same mold.  I hope the U.S. (and every developed nation) remembers to celebrate those differences and protect human choices.

Freedom to Speak: What did you expect a professional speaker to say?  Smile! Seriously, after seeing the squatter’s camps in South Africa where millions live in conditions far worse than our dogs, I’m thankful for a voice to stand up and truly make a difference.  I also believe every country should provide their citizens the same freedom.

Freedom to Work:Today’s global economic crunch has created more appreciation for work than this country has seen in decades.  As a farm kid, I’m hopeful this will turn into a greater work ethic because I think there’s something wrong with teenagers who don’t know how to earn their keep.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to be an entreprenuer and couldn’t imagine not having the freedom to grow a business.

I hope  your celebration include those freedoms you value the most! And to all those who fought to protect our independence, thank you!