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Fast Food for Thought

Fast Food for Thought
DENIAL: it can take many forms

I have a friend who takes a day off from eating one day every month.

Well, sort of, anyway.

Pete eatsa lot of red meat, so going without food for short periodsis probably good for his health, but he claims he fasts for spiritual reasons.

He says denying himself things he wants helps him toidentify withthe suffering ofother people.

I respect him for that… especially sincePete really does enjoy his food. To tell you the truth, though, he has very loose definitions for the terms, ‘day’ and ‘fast’.

A while back he told me he wasn’t going to eat anything from midnight one day, to midnight the next, but when he remembered his favourite fast-food jointclosed at 10:30pm, he adjusted his end of denial timeso he wouldn’t have to go to sleep with an empty stomach.

Then last week, he went out with a friend and wound up in a pub where the roast beef and potato special caught his eye and he really wanted to order a plate.Unfortunately for him,though, it was his fasting day, so he didn’t do that.

He had a chicken burger and chips instead.

Pete tells these stories with a straight face because he doesn’t think there is anything wrong or funnyabout his behaviour.

He fasts to deny himself something he likes; so,as he sees it, 22 hours is as good as 24, and eating chicken still qualifies as a hardship as long as he would rather be eating something else.

That might not make sense to many people, but I think his motivation is sound, and in his own strange way, Pete is sticking to the spirit of his denial practice without getting hung up on the finer points of fasting.

In other words, he isfocusing on the spirit, instead of the letter, of the law.

And that’s why I decided to share Pete’s eating habits with you.

It seems to me a lot oforganisationsget bogged down in their own regulations and forget about the things they were set up to accomplish in the first place.

The obvious example I saw in Botswana was in the teaching profession.

I knew many teachers and all of them seemed to be spending far too much time filling out reports.

Okay, I’m sure some of them were essential for maintaining standards, but I’m also certain many of them were not and they definitely cut into the teachers’ class-preparation and free time.

As a parent, that really irritates me because I want my kids… and everyone else’s,to be taught by well rested, well prepared, happy teachers.

In my view, however, many of the rules and most of the paperworkmakes that less likely to happen.

I would also like to see more job satisfaction and less red tape in the workplace, so I think workers and managers would be better off if they approached their jobs more like the way Pete approaches fasting.

In other words, I think they should take some time off from obeying and enforcing rules once in a while, so they can focus more on the spirit of what they are trying to achieve.