Meaningful Monday: Labor Day

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I believe that we are built to create things.  It is in our nature to want to make something out of nothing, like a wood worker widdles a spoon or a builder draws up house plans. There are some who long to record life through words or pictures.  Others enjoy giving nourishment for the family in the form of nutritious foods, home-cooked meals, or a cozy, secure atmosphere.  It is in my dad’s and my husband’s nature to want to provide for their families.

I see it in my children.  My 9-year-old has been creating sketches for her survival handbook.  My 7-year-old likes to create drawings for others, to put smiles on their faces.  My 4-year-old plays with her Legos, making high towers for the captive princess.

They talk of opening their own spa, restaurant, or invention company.  My oldest girl gets absolutely giddy when she talks of the jobs she may get someday.

I remember the first time I let each of the girls clean out the silverware drawer in the dishwasher.  They were e-c-s-t-a-t-i-c and begged to do empty it every chance they got.  I admit, it’s easy to chuckle and say, “Oh, how cute,” knowing that someday they may realize that they had it pretty darn good in the playroom at our house.  But then I stop myself.

When does work become “work?”  Why can’t we all be excited when it comes to our chosen profession….or our un-chosen profession?

Well, the answers are obvious.  Some people are just plain hard to work for/with.  There are definitely jobs that are more stressful than others.  Some are boring. Some jobs are not what we had in mind when we dreamt of our futures.

Does this matter?  

Could we still enjoy the work we have in front of us….simply because we are grateful for the job and grateful for the ability to do it?  

I don’t know.  I do know it’s easier to say than to do.

But maybe we could turn our thinking right around.

How do you talk about work with your children?  Do they hear you complain about it?  Do they notice a negative attitude?  

What if we taught our children to love the work they do, simply because they have it in their power to create something useful or beautiful with their own two hands?

We could start with their schoolwork, encouraging them to do a job well done.  A job they could be proud of finishing and turning into their boss...er, teacher.

So this labor day, consider the wise words of Vince Lombardi:

Dictionary is the only place where success comes before labor.  Hard work is the price we must pay for success.  I think you can accomplish anything if you’re willing to pay the price. 

and this one by Martin Luther King, Jr.:

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.  

Share these with your children, and in doing so, share the joy and privilege of hard work!