How does thanks-giving relate to leadership? Being thankful is definitely a key to being a good leader, without this “attitude of gratitude” it becomes to easy to become mired down in wanting more; forgetting that more often then not we have all that we really need. Satisfying the most important needs is really what leadership is all about, for it is in helping others to meet their own needs that we become more whole ourselves. I believe that a key to being successful as a leader is to be able to discern what an important need is, and what is a want for more.
Yesterday was called “Black Friday”, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. A day that is really not about meeting needs, but mostly about wanting more. So how to we remember to be thankful after this day of meeting wants?
I came across a few articles that helped remind me what I need to be thankful for.
An article on Wikipedia discusses the alternative to the “Black Friday” consumption celebration of “Buy Nothing Day.” For me this is a good reminder that everyday should be about becoming more aware of what it is I buy, and what my motives are for buying it. Do I buy because I really need something or just because I want to buy something?
An article by Robert Jensen titled "No Thanks to Thanksgiving points out that we often forget about some of the real costs of the pilgrims and other settlers coming to American, namely the genocide of the native peoples that occurred in the aftermath of the first thanksgiving.
The essay titled “Thanksgiving: A Native American View” by Jacqueline Keeler is a reminder that many native people believe in the importance of giving rather then the concept of selling. She writes, “Among many of our peoples, showing that you can give without holding back is the way to earn respect. Among the Dakota, my father's people, they say, when asked to give, ‘Are we not Dakota and alive?’ It was believed that by giving there would be enough for all -- the exact opposite of the system we live in now, which is based on selling, not giving.”
So perhaps it is time to be thankful for our needs being met, to remember atrocities that have been committed in the name of greed, to learn to grow to be more accepting of all people, and to share the gifts that have been bestowed upon us.