The Season of Learning

Thanksgiving is an American holiday, being observed on the last Thursday of every November since 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,”. The first “thanksgiving” was in October of 1621 when the Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest. The feast lasted three days, and according to attendee Edward Winslow, it was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.

Thanksgiving is the start of what is usually called “the holiday season” in America, when merchants step up their efforts to bring in consumers and increase sales. You just about have to live under a rock to not have heard of Black Friday, and now Cyber Monday, both raising expectations of increased revenue.

There are nay-sayers concerning the “commercialism” of the holidays, fearing it takes away from family and friends and squelching the Spirit of season. While my personal views are not really important to this article, I will say that sometimes it seems we tend to go overboard, and the older I get, the more I tend to strive for that balance between work and relaxation with family and friends.

However, I believe that capitalism is the life-blood of Freedom. Free trade, the opportunity to create and grow a business that brings jobs and opportunities to other people while making a living for ourselves is one of the most cherished freedoms of America. It’s what brought early immigrants from around the world to America, who wanted to become Americans and actually live the “American dream” and give back to the America they now called home. It is a dream that has come true for millions of people.

Perhaps this year for you things have been slow; sales are not what is needed or expected, plans seem not to materialize. Maybe employees have been laid off, hours cut. Call me naive, but I believe any employer who is forced to make cuts is concerned about his employees. It is difficult to be thankful for such situations. As unpleasant and hurtful as failure is, consider it a time to re-group, re-think, go over the plan, even start over. Human beings have a wonderful gift called hind-sight. We can’t always see the future, but we can see the past and know what worked and what didn’t. We learn what we need to change. We find not only the solutions, but the courage to go forward.

Always be thankful for success, but be thankful for failures. In the end, they make us better.