August 6, 2008
Treat the holidays with reverence
Do you think the various holidays in the United States that mandate the closing of banks, schools, and public services, is wise?
Yes! However, thoughtlessly squandering "holidays" for self-indulgence, considering each paid-vacation day as little more than another entitlement is to miss the meaning of what a holiday can mean. Integrity is about respecting our own history, simultaneously passing along the meaning of these "days-off" to others.
- New Year's Day is about reflecting on the past and getting ready to address the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead - financial, physical, interpersonal, emotional and spiritual.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day addresses the struggles of those whose human rights were denied, whose dignity was challenged and whose opportunities were thwarted because of race. Dr. King's holiday provides time to contemplate the painful and often senseless struggles of others. Wise stewards of American culture pause and remember the sacrifices of those who made American society stronger.
- Presidents Day honors guardians of liberty: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.
Each, under differing circumstances, offered sacrifice as the price of liberty. Pausing on their respective birthdays, February 12 and February 22, to remember that they dedicated their lives to freedom and democracy, is not only proper, it is an essential ingredient for those whose goal is to retain their gifts and dreams.
- Fourth of July celebrates independence, freedom and accountability. The architects of what would become the United States of America were courageous and single-minded, even if not always like minded. The "Fourth" has become, for many people, simply one more day for festivities, food, listening to stump speeches by politicians and fire-works displays. The real meaning of the day centers in the willingness of individuals to sign a Declaration of Independence, an action that could cause them to lose everything they had worked hard to accumulate - including their lives.
- Labor Day reminds everyone of the noble nature of honest and hard work. Employers and employees are bound together by the same common goal: to provide quality and integrity of products and services, generate legitimate profits for owners while providing appropriate compensation to each employee.
- Thanksgiving Day commemorates 17Century immigrants in New England, building relationships with Native Americans, surviving in their new home, across the Atlantic Ocean. Hardship was the crucible for those who gathered the end of a harsh and meager harvest, sitting down with strangers, offering prayers of thanks - for simply being alive. It was not about the food, it was about the people and the privilege of sharing.
These holidays are about remembering, reverently and appreciatively, the gifts and opportunities provided to citizens of the United States of America, still a beacon of hope to the world.