The History of Labor Day and My Problem with It

 

 

Labor and Work…What’s the Difference?

 

Labor Day is one of my three favorite holidays each year. Christmas being my favorite, which is no big surprise. Labor Day and New Year’s Day are tied for the second spot. These two are not typically ranked in most people’s top three.

 

My extended family celebrates both holidays in an almost identical way. They start with parades in the morning and conclude by spending the rest of the day, into the evening, playing games, eating and enjoying time with family. This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy all the other holidays, because I do. These three are just my favorites.

 

As I was looking forward to the upcoming Labor Day I began thinking about the reason behind the celebration. Labor Day was started as a way to show appreciation for the hard-working labor force in America in the late 1800s. We often forget the reasons behind holidays. We need to remember the reason for this and all holidays and not just look at it as another reason to barbeque with friends or go to the lake.

The problem I have with Labor Day comes from the perception that there is a separation between labor and management / employees and business owners.

There’s no doubt a difference in the roles of these two groups, but too often it is seen as a confrontational battle between the two. It is a mindset of our side against theirs. There certainly have been and still are situations where this is true.

It doesn’t have to be this way. This attitude is a problem for both groups. It’s a view that there is a limited amount and if I don’t get my piece of the pie, there may not be any left. This scarcity thinking in a world of abundance isn’t beneficial to either side. God will provide enough for everybody.

If we would quit viewing labor and management as two competing entities and instead look at both as on the same team working together, both would benefit.

 

Having been on both sides of the employee/owner relationship I can tell you that both work hard to achieve success. If all involved work hard together toward the same goal everybody wins. It is easy to look at other people and think they have it easy, but rarely is that the case.

The definition of labor focuses mainly on the physical while work (link) refers to both physical and mental actions. Work seems less divisive than labor. We can and should work together toward the same goal.

On the first Monday of September this year I’m going to celebrate WORK instead of labor.

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