In his recent Friday Forward blog, author and CEO Robert Glazer, shares the “pot roast” story (you may know it):
A mother was preparing a pot roast for her family’s Easter meal while her young daughter helped. Knowing her daughter was very curious, the mother clarified each step. As she was preparing to put the pot roast in the oven, the mother explained, “Now we cut the ends off of each side of the meat.”
As young children often do, the daughter asked, “Why?” The mother thought for a moment and replied, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how your grandma did it and that’s how I do it.”
Not satisfied with this answer, the young girl asked if she could call her grandma. The young girl called and asked, “Grandma, why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her grandma thought for a moment and said, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how my mom did it and that’s how I do it.”
Still not satisfied, the young girl called her great-grandma, who was now living in a nursing home. “Great-grandma,” she said, “Why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her great- grandma said, “When I was a young mother, we had a very small oven. The pot roast wouldn’t fit in the oven if I didn’t cut the ends off.”
Why do we do what we do?
I've always been fascinated by this question and my motives for doing this or that. Not to mention, why we (as a society) do the things we do.
Here are some of the things I question:
- Why do we work an 8-hour day?
- Why do we retire in our 60s or 70s?
- Why are valuable positions paid so little in our culture?
- Why do we eat ham for Easter (yucky!)
And most of the answers to these questions have the same answer: “That's what we've always done.”
Of course, I may be oversimplifying some things here. Just because it has always been done that way doesn't mean it's the right.
What are we doing with our finances today, that may have a better way?