The value of independence

Published 9:39 pm Friday, June 30, 2017

Have you contemplated the value of independence in all areas of your life? As we celebrate Independence Day you can count your blessings for independence in  both your personal and professional lives.

Teenagers look forward to moving out, being on their own and experiencing independence from their parents. Freedom and independence go hand in hand. However, it doesn’t take much time before the new independence isn’t all it was cracked up to be. It comes with much responsibility that young people are often unprepared to handle.

In marriage each person makes a pledge, in the words found in Mark10:8, “the two will become one flesh.” This pledge is the opposite of independence, where the two people pledge dependence on each other. This is the reason that when separation occurs, especially in the death of a spouse, the remaining spouse doesn’t feel like a whole person, but only a half.  

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Many widows and widowers struggle with not only working through the grief process but also all the issues they must now deal with alone. Handling finances, paying bills, household repairs, upkeep on their home, maintaining a yard, auto maintenance, making decisions alone, and the list goes on and on in the overwhelming situation of dealing with being alone. 

The things taken care of in the past by the spouse now gone becomes a heavy burden on the one left. What makes it even more difficult is that the information regarding handling many of these things was not shared when both were living. In a healthy marriage relationship the two should develop independently but at the same time make sure the other is knowledgeable about the responsibilities each takes care of. 

A marriage where one dominates the other doesn’t allow for individual interests and development and usually results in an unhappy relationship and failure. How does this philosophy fit into the workplace?

Workers are ingrained to “be all you can be.”  Education, training and experience work together to set one up to succeed. A good employee learns that dependence on others, i.e., teamwork makes for a healthy work life. 

You have made progress when you realize the important aspects of dependence in the job. No one makes it entirely on their own. Learning from  managers, co-workers, mentors, etc. have been credited with the basis of many successful careers.

In sports, players learn that individual performance is very important but the best successes athletes experience in baseball, football, basketball, etc., is found in teamwork. 

This is why they are called team sports. Each person brings individual talents to the team where the members complement each other for a winning team effort.

In the workplace there are some jobs that can be performed independently so a development of skills to do the job are important.

However, there are many people you need to depend on for their expertise that you don’t have. 

No one is good at everything. There are people you should depend on including managers and leaders, project team members, subordinates, etc. A healthy dependence on others results in more successful team efforts. 

Delegation and team work make work relationships thrive. In team work, making the most of all the talents of team members, will help in meeting challenges successfully. Learning the times and situations for independent work and collaboration will bring the best results.

It is important that managers do not stifle the independence and creativity of workers  who have the drive to perform meaningful work. This requires effective management and leadership skills. 

Independence, with a dose of dependence, will bring the best results in business.

Two-hundred forty-one years ago, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia. It is now known as Independence Hall.  It announced that the 13 colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as newly independent sovereign states. 

A new nation was formed — the United States of America. The document drafted and signed is known as the Declaration of Independence. 

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”  is now known as one of the best-known sentences in the English language. It has inspired many other nations and people. 

There are so many in the past and present who have sacrificed for this independence and freedom often taken for granted today. 

We, as Americans, thankfully can experience this valuable freedom and independence in our lives today.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing