I think it’s important to call July 4th Independence Day. Every country in the world has a 4th of July (save the “some countries still use the Julian Calendar, Adam” please). But not every country has an independence day. Why is that significant to me? Well, I guess because I think of independence in several different ways.
The obvious, as it relates to our country’s independence from Great Britain and the birth of America, is certainly at the top of the list. Tomorrow, as we should pretty much every day, we will go out of our way to thank the service men and women who have dedicated some or all of their lives to affording us the freedoms we ALL take for granted from time to time. The cool thing about Independence Day is that it celebrates the beginning of the fight we as a nation undertook to become the world leader we are today. We can debate that last statement all you want, but for all of our faults, this is still the greatest country in the world. Want proof? Ask an recent immigrant.
For me, Independence Day celebrates a few specific things. The first is my Grandfather, Col. Marvin H. Good. It was his favorite holiday, as you would expect from a retired Air Force Colonel. Truth be told, he liked it because he got to blow stuff up again. Sure it was on a much smaller scale than winding up the 50 caliber on the P-59 he used to fly. But he used to buy the GOOD fireworks and then tape a few big ones together. We had some really good backyard shows back in the day.
Here is the digression of the day. . . You know where the phrase “the whole nine yards” comes from? WWII gunners had ammo boxes that contained bullets all strung together. Guess how long that string was? That’s right. . . 27 feet! Back to the topic at hand.
Being a small business owner is also a form of independence for me. I like to think I set my own work days (just the ones that end in Y) and hours (bwahahahaha). But the freedom or independence is in doing what I want. I might not always be right but I have the freedom to make as many mistakes as I want. I make the decisions and I have to live with the successes and failures of those decisions. That is the real rush of owning your own business. I hope you all get to experience it at least once.
For all of us, independence comes in the form of being free to make our own decisions about how we live. Take how we choose what we eat for example (see what I did there?). I talk a lot in this blog about voting with your dollars and being aware of where your money is really going. Here is a great example. I gave a tour to a wonderful couple yesterday, Tim and Donna. We talked extensively about the difference between Costco Organic, Rocky and Rosie and what we do here at Victorian Farmstead. Donna knew that the $1.99 naked chicken breasts were poorly raised at best. But what she didn’t know was that being organic means that chicken is required to get a whole 3/4 of a foot more space than other barn raised chickens. Oh yeah, and they have to be fed organic feed. That’s it. Donna now knows the value of a well raised bird vs the equivalent weight in the best Costco chicken. I am really looking forward to hearing about all the meals she makes with that 5lb bird she took home. Only so much you can do with boneless skinless flavorless breasts.
You see, with independence comes responsibility. It is our responsibility as a world power to be good citizens of the world. It is our responsibility as citizens of this great country to make sure our elected officials honor our nation’s responsibility. This is difficult at best and usually seems like an impossible task. How do we effect change when our leaders won’t, or can’t? It has to start on a local level. It is our responsibility to start with our neighborhoods and towns and do our best to make them better today than they were yesterday. Baby steps. . .
It is my responsibility as a small business owner to make sure I am doing everything I can to honor the trust my customers give me. It is my responsibility to make sure that my employees make a decent enough wage that they can care for their own family. And it is my biggest responsibility to make sure that I make the best decisions I can so that my business thrives and I can provide for my own family. That is truly the greatest responsibility of all.
It is all our responsibility to pay attention to where we spend our dollars. Is it worth the extra dollars to shop locally? I sure hope so! Get out and meet your local shop keeper, in whatever shop you like. You will find that there is TREMENDOUS value in that relationship. I make sure that I take extra good care of those that take the time to do things like get to know me and my staff. . . or read this blog. . . or post a comment now and then. Ya feel me???
Maybe we need a new holiday….Responsibility Day. Everyone can use a reminder now and then!
Happy Independence Day, Everyone!