Every Friday we will share some ideas on how to improve your family values or life. The hope is that as you end a busy week and enter the weekend with your family that you can reflect on these ideas and connect as a family through them. If you ever come across something you think would be great to share, please share with us on our Contact Us page:
Finding the meaning in Labor Day
Did you know that United States Labor Day started in 1894? While the original purpose of Labor Day was to recognize and give relaxation time to people working in various trades, today most people celebrate Labor Day as the end of summer with pool parties and picnics. What a huge change this is!
My husband and I both worked in the service and retail industries, and we recognize how thankless this work can be. Labor Day is one of the busiest days in the retail world which kind of defeats the purpose of the holiday for those working in this field. As Labor Day approaches I started to think about all the people who work hard so that I can seamlessly go about my daily life…the people at the grocery store, the restaurant, the manufacturing companies, the road workers, the list goes on and on. As I left my house I started to see all the little “footprints” left by people who maintain my city and the businesses I frequent. Now I know that the original purpose of Labor Day was for those working in farms or factories. Many of us today may not have access to or even know anyone who works in these fields, but just recognizing the hard work of these individuals is a right step toward opening up your family’s world view.
But as I started to think about all these people, I also started to think about their families. Families just like ours trying to raise kids the best they can with what they have. Some might not have children; some might be trying to save money for a car, or a new apartment, or even to go to school. But they are working HARD…. they are LABORing for my family and me.
Our Family Friday challenge is layered depending on your family.
– First, say thank you! Come up with some creative ways you can show your appreciation to the people who serve you, or clean the tables at a restaurant, or stock the food at the store, or make your coffee or donuts in the morning. Have the kids draw up some business cards or regular cards saying thanks. Or hand out gift cards to people you see working hard.
– Second, recognize and engage these individuals. Being a busboy is hard work and usually no customer engages you. So maybe look them in the eye and tell them “Thank You for your work!” Or tell the stocker at the store “you are doing a great job making sure the produce is so fresh, thank you!” Ask them where they are from or if they have any children. Just by engaging them in conversation you are showing them that they are valuable and respected.
– Thirdly–and this is probably more for older children–really engage in conversations about all the people it takes to get food to the table at a restaurant or at the store, from the farmer to the delivery driver and beyond. I bet there are some kids who would love to discuss the production line of canned corn that was served on your taco salad.
What are you doing this Labor Day? How did/can you say Thank You to the people who serve you? What conversations came out of talking about the purpose of this holiday?