We can find much to be thankful for as the season of Thanksgiving descends upon us. I pondered that thought as I joined the Lancaster County Community Foundation in downtown Lancaster last Friday to watch the end of the Extraordinary Give. Over 21,000 people helped to raise more than $3.2 million for non-profit organizations in a 24 hour giving marathon. Their generosity will help those in need as 2013 comes to a close.
Perhaps we could start by being thankful that our stock market is in an uptrend, but maybe we should be more thankful that we even have a stock market. Many people consider the stock market a malignant casino, rigged to take all of their money. In fact, it embodies the very essence of what makes our capitalistic system work. It gives us a way to finance the business enterprises necessary to our way of life. It also gives us a place to share in the risks and rewards of an entrepreneurial market place.
While Thanksgiving has come to be a commercial waypoint between Halloween and Christmas for the retail industry, it actually has some deep historical roots in capitalism. Thanksgiving has also acquired significance beyond the bare historical facts. Without it to “officially” kick off the Christmas shopping season, economists would have nothing to theorize about, the stock market would have little to cheer for, school would go a full week instead of three days, all NFL games would be on Sunday, and only the turkey population would celebrate.
On a more serious note, as a nation we do have many reasons to be thankful. We live in a great land, under a system of government that has endured for two centuries, allowing us to use our many freedoms to improve our lives and those of others throughout the world. We are living longer and healthier lives because of the advances of medicine. We worship and speak as we please. We have the right to choose our leaders. And, as my granddaughter reminds me, we have the freedom to pick our own friends. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and remember to give a little thanks to some early venture capitalists!
- Be generous. The best way to guard against selfishness is to put others needs before your own.
- Spend time with your family. Thanksgiving Day is a great time to be thankful and enjoy the company of the people we love.
- Relax and enjoy Thanksgiving.