Respecting the ‘Labor’ in Labor Day
It’s back to school time.
Most kids groan at the loss of their carefree summer days, but my siblings and I couldn’t wait to get back to school. You see, sitting in class and hanging out with our friends was infinitely more enjoyable than breaking our backs under the hot sun in the fields at my father’s farm.
And Labor Day was no vacation day on the farm either.
Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894 as a tribute to American workers who routinely worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks.
My father worked those grueling 12-hour (or longer) days and seven-day weeks until his health failed him in his late 80s.
Our summer work schedule was especially frustrating in high school. As my friends were joyriding around town, swimming, and otherwise having tons of fun ... I was always working in the hot sun.
My father truly considered hard work and long hours to be a godly virtue. And he thought his sons should do (almost) the same, which is why my brother and I cheered the start of a every new school year.
And the greatest cheer of all was when I left our small vegetable farm to attend the University of Washington because my father couldn’t wake me up at the crack of dawn on weekend mornings.
I hated it at the time, but those back-breaking summers on the farm are the reason for my successful career. A solid work ethic is something that you learn, not something that you are born with. I fear that most young Americans are not being taught what it means to put in a hard day’s work.
So, if you have some time to do a little mental work and catch up on your reading before the holiday-shortened week, here are some of my recent issues that might interest you:
P.S. If you’re looking for a little more homework to hone your work ethic, here’s an intriguing opportunity from one of my colleagues.
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