Thanksgiving meals are notorious for it! Black Fridays were dreamed up to do it! Our economy is measured by how aggressively we are doing it!
And, we are, of course, talking about consuming. We are labeled and frequently referred to as "consumers." And, I admit to excelling in my role as "consumer." Now, I’m not saying that there's anything wrong with it, but we must ask ourselves, when is enough, enough? When do we have enough and why does it matter?
I find myself making a list of items I will be “needing”: new bike, trainer for my bike, an iPad, and so the list goes on. One by one, I check those items off my list and they are all put to good use, but my list has grown no shorter and amazingly, new items continue to find their way onto my "must have" list.
Thanksgiving is meant to be a time to take stock and remember all that we appreciate. As our family gets ready to take stock this year, we are reminded of Dayenu. The Hebrew word "Dayenu" (di-a-new) means approximately, "it would have been enough for us," and it refers to being grateful to God for all of the gifts He gave the Jewish people, such as taking them out of slavery in Egypt.
Dayenu is also a fun, upbeat song that is part of the Jewish Holiday of Passover. Over 1,000 years old, the song has 15 stanzas representing 15 gifts God bestowed upon the Jewish people around the time of their Exodus from Egypt. After each stanza describing the gift, follows the refrain, Dayenu …" it would have been enough”… but we were given even more.
As our family reflects on Dayneu during Thanksgiving holidays, we found ourselves asking, when is there enough?
When do we have enough:
food in the pantry?
jeans in our closet?
books in our library?
DVDs in our collection?
cool electronic devices?
square feet in our home?
vehicles in our garage?
Of course, we realized that there has always been more than enough, as we pledged to become more grateful in the coming year.
We cannot consume our way out of problems. We have been presented with some very shocking lessons in the past few years about the downside of over-consuming. Here are some highlights.
as businesses, we cannot band-aid problems with more people and more money,
as families, we cannot spend more than we earn,
as individuals, we need to recognize when "enough is enough.”
Does that mean we stop growing and improving? Recognizing when there is enough, when we have enough, when we've had enough, could well be the basis for a kind of personal and professional growth that is transformative.