Monday, September 7, 2009

Day of Labor, Day of Rest

On the calendar, the first Monday in September has a tiny printed legend that says "Labor Day." If you're like me, you've probably chuckled about all the work of the year being summarized and condensed into that one day.

The Dept. of Labor calls Labor Day, "a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

The first Labor Day was Tuesday, September 5, 1882. In 1884, the date was moved to the first Monday in September, and in 1894, Labor Day was made a national holiday.
The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day.
This year, I suggest a supplementary way to celebrate: spend some time learning about work in this country. With your children, read a newspaper article about an industry you don't know much about. Learn about the history of the holiday. Take a Labor Day quiz.

If you have older children, talk about issues like child labor, the minimum wage, and labor unions. Share your thoughts about the nature of work as the Lord intended it, and how a Biblical view of work differs from our culture's view.

Instead of treating Labor Day as just another long weekend, don't miss this chance to share with your children what it means to be a life-long learner.

For more information, see Labor Day History from History.com, and also The History of Labor Day from the U.S. Department of Labor.

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