What is the inadvertent message of Giving Tuesday, Mothers’ Day, Veterans’ Day and all the myriad other “Days” that are scattered throughout the year? Think about it. We owe honor to our parents and veterans every day of the year. We should feel the obligation to give to charity every single time we receive or earn money. By declaring a “Day” for those things, we diminish them and tacitly excuse ourselves for our behavior on the other 364 days of the year. We have inverted the equation.
What if we were to abolish all those days and instead implement one new, special day: Taking Tuesday? Taking Tuesday would be one day where we would have permission to be indolent and self-centered; go ahead and sleep late, indulge in an expensive ice cream, read an entire book or binge on a TV show. For 24 hours, we would discourage both guilt and a work ethic. The implication, however, is that for 364 days, we are diligent, responsible, and hard-working.
I have been reading Pushing to the Front by Orison Swett Marden (1850-1924). A physician, lawyer, businessman and the founder of Success magazine, simply reading Mr. Marden’s bio exhausts me. His book, a best-seller in its day, is full of inspirational stories and quotes. He has no patience for whiners and victims and his personal life story is a practical study in not letting tough circumstances define you. Reading the profiles he presents of phenomenally successful individuals who had challenge after challenge stacked against them, removes any vestige of self-pity from the reader.
Realistically, we cannot afford to declare one day when all firemen, nurses, parents, or power station workers drop all responsibilities. However, we are certainly not able to continue to afford the situation we are in now, where a not-insubstantial number of people have no ambition and no sense of duty. Even more, and I speak to myself here, have been seduced to believe that they are entitled (a word that needs to be removed from our vocabulary) to an absurd amount of me-time, relaxation, and recreation.
The Sabbath has two prongs. “Six days you shall work and do your creative activity. And the seventh day belongs to your God; you shall not do creative work on that day…” (Exodus 20:9-10) If one has not been productive for six days, it is questionable whether they are fully keeping the Sabbath. Is it so absurd to think that 364 days you shall honor your parents and one day you have permission not to call them or do errands for them? 364 days you should focus on giving to others and one day you can pander yourself. It might not be an easy sell, but it would certainly be a beneficial one.
What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Susan’s Musings post.
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INTRODUCING A BRAND NEW ONLINE COURSE
We are proud to share this wonderful new course by Rabbi Daniel Lapin:
The Book of Ruth: Chorus of Connection
One of the best-known and most beloved books of Scripture, the book of Ruth is a compelling story of love, family and redemption.
Yet, it is so much more. It is a blueprint for our times, describing how to repair a splintered society and how individuals can best connect and flourish.
- What similar ideas highlight both a good marriage and a good government?
- What is the connection between fertility and prosperity?
- Can Seduction and Sanctity co-exist?
- Can societies in decline reverse course? How?