The Labor of Our Days

What images comes to mind when I say, “Labor Day”?

Chances are you think of the holiday weekend and celebrations with your loved ones, the Federal Holiday, Unions and the cause of a working wage and benefits, maybe the history of the struggle of working people to have a fair share of the profits from their work. Those are all great.

Now I want you to think of your parents and caregivers. The parent that fed you, bathed you, nurtured you and taught the building blocks of how to be in the world.

Now think of your elders. Who shops for them, goes to the doctors with them, cleans for them and cares for them when they begin to fail.

Now think of those that have physical and mental challenges of differing degrees. They come in all ages. Who assists them in the daily tasks that make day to day life easier and sometimes possible at all.

Much of this work is unpaid labor, yet the work of homemaking, childcare, eldercare and differently abled care isn’t part of our economic system. It doesn’t count on our GDP, but our society would collapse without it.

Now consider the other non-paid labor we do to mentor, to educate, to assist, to advocate, to entertain and enrich the community, the country and the world. Think of all that we do for our neighbors, our friends, our community, to make life better.

This is labor. A paycheck isn’t the only measure of your work. Without this labor our world would be a lonelier and more desperate place.

Honor your labor. If you work for money, this holiday is for you. If you work for love, this holiday is still for you. Our work makes the world better. Enjoy your day.

A father and son nuzzle each other; the father looking up, holding his son aloft.