We know what civil rights and copyrights are, but have you ever thought about your rights as a human being? The rights of individuals and groups are vital discussion points these days, and perhaps it’s time we gave the issue of “rights” some serious thought.
You probably know about the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that the United States’ Declaration of Independence demanded from England in 1776. Over the decades since, around the world, we have given ourselves many other rights, too, though you probably didn’t learn about them in school. Interestingly, they’re not usually listed or written down.
You have the right to make mistakes, to be less than competent, less than perfect – in short, to be human. You have a right to ask for what you want and to get what you pay for. You have the right to feel good about yourself and to make choices that will cause you to grow. You have the right to decide how you will use your time and to limit other people’s demands on it.
You have the right to be taken seriously and to be heard when you have something to say. You have the right to be recognized for your accomplishments. You have the right to express your feelings of anger and pain as well as those of happiness and approval, as long as you respect the rights of others at the same time. You have the right to question authority, to ask for help and support, and to have privacy.
Finally, you have the right to stand up for your rights and your beliefs, and to direct the course of your own life as you see fit. In other words, you have the right to use – or not use – as much of your potential as you choose.
Are there other rights you would add to the list? Which ones? Keeping in mind, or perhaps exploring, all of the consequences of retaining those rights that you hold dear, how important are they? How important are they to your family, your friends?