Free to Be… You and Me was a children’s entertainment project, conceived, created and executive-produced by actress and author Marlo Thomas. It all began when Marlo became an aunt and began looking for children’s books to read to her little niece. She was appalled at the stereotypes represented in the children’s books available, generally unchanged from the books she had grown up with as a child. Unable to find children’s book with more liberal views of gender roles, Free to Be… You and Me was born. Through music, poetry and skits, the basic concept was to encourage gender neutrality, saluting values such as individuality, tolerance, and comfort with one’s identity. A major thematic message is that anyone—whether a boy or a girl—can achieve anything.
We applaud and encourage these same values, expanding the neutrality to all “classifications” in which we place people – gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, religion… and on and on. As children, our brains are wired to identify and classify, as we learn about the world around us. As adults, we learn to un-identify and un-classify, allowing space for people to be who they are and who they are becoming, including ourselves.
The greatest freedom we possess is the freedom from within; the awareness of our divine nature, our essential essence. Regardless of what is happening in our lives, outside forces cannot touch the truth of who we are. Frederick Nietzsche, 19th century German philosopher and Latin and Greek scholar stated, “He who has a why for life can put with any how.” Viktor Frankl, Austrian survivor of the Holocaust camp Auschwitz, author-psychoanalyst stated, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
We are each free to be. And we are each stepping into the becoming of our truer selves every day. Free to be… You and Me.