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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hungry or Greedy?

Recently as we drove past a fast food place, one of my children, who had just had lunch a few moments before we left our home said: "Mummy, I'm hungry". A quick look around and my eye caught his target so I responded: "Are you hungry or greedy?" My husband laughed and said, "You should write about that on your blog." It sounded like an strange suggestion and even stranger topic but as I put it down in my little "spur-of-the-moment" notebook. The more I thought about it against the backdrop of some of my observations and experiences, it became a viable topic - so here goes...

Let's start with the question I ask(ed) myself - "in our everyday lives, are we able to distinguish between hunger and greed?" I remember when we were growing up, whenever my Mum was dishing out our food she'd ask us to "come and say 'when'". In other words, it was up to us to tell her when the food in our plates was sufficient...generous and considerate won't you say?
Well, I'll never forget the day when one of my brothers couldn't finish his food and told my mother he was full. My mother took one look at him and said: "your eyes are bigger than your stomach". I chuckle every time I remember that incident and on occasion, I've had to use that phrase on my children and I've found out that it keeps them in check.

Last month, we had a Mothers' Day brunch in a restaurant that had a buffet...sure, who doesn't like a buffet. While I was going to get my food, I noticed a discreet yet distinct notice - it said: "Take all you want, eat all you take".  It rang a bell for me because I've noticed how wasteful we can be. Isn't it so sad that people go for occasions or just visits and want to try any and everything in sight? A bit of this and a bit of that and wasting a whole lot more. What virtues/vices are we displaying to others? What are we teaching our young ones? Yes, it includes you - whether or not you are married &/or have children yet.

What about those of us who model wastage of food for our children? I'm always aghast when I visit someone and when a child (including mine) says he/she is full, the hostess says, "put the rest in the bin." I've had to stop them several times and if my child is the culprit, I make him finish the meal especially if he asked for it or ask the hostess to pack what's left for me - that way I ensure it is not wasted even if it becomes that child's next meal. Some of these rules are clear in my home...and apply to our guests too. I remember when Beryl & I were flatmates and a colleague from work visited us - he didn't finish his food so we packed it for him and put it in his glove compartment/pigeon hole. He forgot it there until his car started smelling - we laughed when he told us about it...hopefully a lesson was learned too. I can only imagine what adjectives are running through your mind - possibly you can't quite find the right word to describe me...that's understandable, you're not the only one - I'm looking for that word too ;)

The fact is that sometimes, or shall I say most times, wastage is the output when greed is the input. When you have more than you need (due to greed) - you are almost sure to waste the excess, which could have easily fulfilled another person's need.

I'm sure a number of us may have heard this phrase before: "Waste not, want not". I found a very interesting interpretation/definition for it:  "If we don't waste what we have, we'll still have it in the future and will not lack (want) it."* - isn't that so true about every aspect of life - food, talents, money - name it. I found an even more apt quote:
"Wilful waste makes woeful want." [1721 J. Kelly Scottish Proverbs 353]
The cause and effect is clear, so to summarise in 3 statements:
  • the fact that there is an abundance (or surplus) where you are doesn't mean you must have everything or even a bit of everything.
  • Don't take more than you need - if you already have more than you need - please share.
  • If you waste, you will lack (and that is not a curse - just the truth).
God bless you abundantly...

*The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition  Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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