The price of freedom is risk-taking, effort, constant pursuit of truth and eternal vigilance. The benefit of being free is the possibility of being happy, a sense of personal achievement and satisfaction, a thrilling sense of looking forward to a better tomorrow and infinite possibilities of choices.
The price of slavery is constant humiliation/self-degradation, a sense of meaninglessness, endless pain/misery and the inescapable silent desperation. The benefit of slavery is a fake/temporary sense of safety/certainty and a piece of bread one may lose to others at any moment. --- Kai Chen
When my daughter Alex left to Zambia for her Peace Corps assignment, I said to her: "Do you know that you may die there?" She turned to me with a beautiful smile, in a voice full of inner serenity: "You can die here in the States as well. You can die anywhere at any moment as well."
I realized that she went with her decision to join the Peace Corps, not out of some impulse and impetuousness, but a deep understanding of her life's meaning. She knows what she is doing.
I feel immensely relieved and proud. I am very much at ease with her decision now than before the conversation. I feel I have done my job well as a parent - instilling a sense of meaningfulness in her life. She indeed has the will, the ability and the courage to be a free and independent being. She is indeed on her way toward freedom. She is indeed ready.
In contrast, I often hear the Chinese parents say to their children that their first responsibility is to their parents, not to their own individual destiny with a unique purpose known only to themselves and God. This indeed separates a culture of freedom and a culture of slavery. I just want to say to those who claim to fight for China's freedom: "Have you brought up your children as free beings, respecting their own choices, appreciating their uniqueness as a free being, being proud of their pursuit of meaning in their lives?"
If we want to be free, we must allow our children to be free. We must never allow ourselves to oppress others and be oppressed by others. We must be consistent in bearing our own individual responsibilities.