What's Another "Widget" Really Worth?
We live in a society in which productivity is fully
expected and often demanded, sometimes regardless of the cost. Our
promotions, acknowledgements, accolades, and recognitions are so
often based solely on our ability to produce. This pressure may
begin in our early years at home, is certainly seen in our years of
schooling, and is exponentially manifested as we launch our
careers. We are told in ways both inferred as well as conferred
that our sense of self-worth is directly measured by how well we
produce. So produce we do, for we want to make the mark and to be
successful in the eyes of others as well as ourselves.
Often times we measure our success as a relational
partner and parent by how well we financially provide for our
family. Our exhaustive efforts are to produce "one more widget"
that the consuming public says it wants, whether that widget is a
new automobile, an insurance policy, a photograph, or another hour
of overtime . As a result, the relational component of being a
partner or a parent gets lost in the scramble. And at what cost?
Marriages get taken for granted and become weary and stale.
Children grow up without our actual experience of their various
stages of growth and development. Friends and extended family
members disappear out of neglect. Our bodies become over-taxed and
susceptible to disease or other physical ailments, yet the
production of the "widget" goes on.
There comes a point when we have to stop and ask
ourselves "Is it really worth it? Why are we choosing to buy into
this perspective of success and productivity? Is all of this really
necessary?" In his book Sabbath: Finding Rest,
Renewal, and Delight In Our Busy Lives, Wayne
Muller encourages us to embrace (and then practice) the concept
that enough is enough. Every time we
slight our relational partner, child, family member, or friend in
an effort to produce yet one more "widget," we rob them and
ourselves of an opportunity to connect and experience more fully
the essence of who they are. We also rob ourselves of the
opportunity to experience the person we would become by knowing the
others in our lives more fully. Each hour spent, however we spend
it, is an hour we will not reclaim. .
What's another "widget" really
worth? Our marriage? Our family? Our friends?
Perhaps this world would be a better place if our promotions,
acknowledgements, accolades, and recognitions were, instead, based
on our skillful ability to balance the expenditures of our time.
What would happen if instead of applauding those who produce the
most "widgets," we honored those who set and then follow a wisely
planned budget for the use of their time? What if we so valued our
connection with others that we rewarded those who adamantly
protected their availability to family and friends, even if it
meant there would be one less "widget" that day?