Thankful and the American Landscape

Thankful and the American Landscape

There is an energy that abounds this time of year. Typically the turkeys are being ordered or purchased, the trimmings are stocked on the pantry shelves, and the fall décor gets its last few days of life. It seems that Christmas decorations make it out earlier with each passing annum. Even my six year old said, “Look mommy, Christmas is here before Thanksgiving is even over.” And with Thanksgiving falling on the last possible day it ever can, I hear everyone talking about the angst. Facebook friends are posting getting their holly out 2 weeks ago, putting up the trees now, and the Menorahs get lit on Thanksgiving this year. Debates about stores being open on Thanksgiving and boycotts to support families being home on Thanksgiving are everywhere. Facebook pages are trying to gain momentum.

In an attempt to tie life to leadership, what this reminds me of is the ever-changing landscape of diversity. Some of us make assumptions that everyone celebrates Thanksgiving with a big turkey and pumpkin pie. Personally, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s about family, gratitude, and quality time. It’s the quintessential American holiday – like the Fourth of July. I am always reminded that not everyone in our workforce resonates with American traditions. Our Native American brothers and sisters certainly have some thoughts on this for sure.

I read that 20% of the DC metro population are immigrants, and we can make some assumptions that a percentage of the workforce do not indentify as American. Land of the free and home of the brave sentiment aside, the reality is our workforce is a plethora of cultural dogma, and if someone wants to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas because these holidays are neutral to them, and people want to go out and shop because they are alone anyway, then who am I to protest this? As a leadership coach, I embrace diversity of style. It’s what makes GOOD-GREAT as Jim Collins professes. It’s why I always request the views of my Board of Trustees when faced with opportunities. I know I do not have all the answers and my beliefs are just that.

I read daily on Social Media and heard in conversations how angered people are about our country’s lenient immigrant practices. Some are the vehemently opposed to these stores being open on Thanksgiving. The truth is, our nation is not the same as it was even ten years ago. Yet, many want to stay the same. I love tradition yet am flexible. I try to see others point of view. I prefer to be as accepting as I am because, seriously, who am I? Not the ultimate judge, that’s certain.

I personally live my life with gratitude. I won’t be in the stores on Thanksgiving, and will avoid the masses on Black Friday. And that is my choice.  One recent blogger in HuffPost made the distinction between capitalism and consumerism. I really enjoyed reading this. And I wish those who want to go out there well. My hope for our future is less hostility. Life is increasingly shorter, and my goal is to use my energy for good.

Be thankful, seek to understand, subscribe to random acts of kindness, broaden your life lens. It might confuse someone, and be fun!

Embrace our diverse human topography. 

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