Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Puritan Gift

I discovered a book last year that I really liked and that inspired me to learn more about the people from whom we inherited so much as Americans. We inherited Thanksgiving along with many other ideas, principles and operating processes. The name of the book is The Puritan Gift by the Hopper brothers from Scotland. It is their conviction that one of the main reasons America has been so successful as a nation of innovators, manufacturers and leaders is due to the radical ways the Puritans conducted themselves in the New World.

For example, the Hopper Brothers came from Europe as educated, higher class men and were thrust into the world of Capitalism as practiced by Americans. They discovered that it was vastly different from Capitalism in England and the Continent. The main difference was the practice of top management and middle management to be on the floor and in the fields with the laborers. The knew what was going on and why things worked or did not work.

The opposite was true in England and Europe where “gentlemen” were too good to get their hands dirty or to stoop so low as to work on a machine or in the fields. The gents prospered but the workers did not. Thus America as a whole prospered and they lagged behind us.

This also led Americans to be resilient and see the world from a practical way. They could, therefore, rejoice even in the midst of difficulty and pain because they had no pie in the sky expectations of work, sickness or death. This was one reason the Puritans celebrated with a feast to thank God for His Providence even though half of them had died in the New World and they had so very little in worldly goods. They were able to maintain a positive, hopeful perspective because they bounced back from challenge and sought to overcome it.

So, despite our losses and difficult times I hope we who came from a background where our parents and grandparents labored in the fields, worked in the shops and saved enough to feed their kids and offer them a chicken leg for Thanksgiving I am sure we will come together with family and friends with a positive spirit of gratitude and drink a toast to our past while looking expectantly to the future for our children.

At this Thanksgiving I am filled with an attitude of gratitude because those hard working and faithful Puritans put their hope and faith in God to provide for their future despite the incredible hardships they faced on a daily basis. So, may you be blessed with the blessing of Aaron.

Numbers 6:23-27

23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying,
On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

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