This is an excerpt from a posting in a discussion group at Fine Art America.
Free is a relative term. As a father I am free to do somethings but not others, as a husband the same holds true. When out in society I am free to act in some ways and not others. And the association with free is always changing. In Cali you used to be free to light up after a good meal, but not any longer. You used to be free to make a living off the land, but not any longer. You used to be free to homestead, but not any longer, (not even in Alaska). The idea of freedom changes over the course of time. We used to be free to live life without the intervention of the government, but not any longer. Freedom is always juxtaposed against responsibility. Responsibility is when you knowingly and freely give up some aspect of your personal freedom for the greater good of family, society or nation. I know people who don't want to give up their freedom of snowboarding to show up to work on time and they cant figure out why they keep loosing jobs. We are free to vote but we are also responsible for the outcome. If we don't like the results we are free to change them, but then we become responsible for the changes (if we wait for the next voting cycle or instigate civil unrest they all have consequences.) I am sure this is all assumed nonsense and I have no need to spout out about freedom and responsibility. If we want to be free to be one of the most powerful nations on the planet, then we also have responsibilities. Am I willing to give up some of my freedoms to make a better world: cheap art supplies, affordable studio space, the ability to travel to shows, plethora of museums and galleries that wealth brings to a city, time in my day to paint and pursue art... I am free but the flip side is I am responsible to use my freedom, even to give it up for the greater good, with a bit of wisdom. And the boy in the photo does not have to think about such things because he assumes his freedom to enjoy a summer day is sacred and protected by the adults around him who have given up personal freedoms to make that day happen; adults who make the tough, in the moment decisions that may be right or wrong but still have to be made then and there. It is no easy thing to be a responsible adult. I always thought that someday some elder would sit me down and tell me how to be an adult, but as I became one through trial and error I realized we are all more or less making it up as we go along. We try our best and hopefully learn from our mistakes, but we don't know it is a mistake until well after the fact. But if we move forward with growing wisdom and the desire to learn from our mistakes then we can grow into being decent adults creating those lazy summer days for children to have the freedom to enjoy without care or concern about safety or survival.