And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19
Happy Monday and Happy Labor Day! This morning I’m blessed to be celebrating Labor Day at home with a cup a coffee, two dogs and a cat. There is a coolness in the air which seems to indicate that summer is over and my heart is full after receiving so many nice blog comments yesterday. Life is good.
Life has not always been good for the American worker. On June 28, 1894 Grover Cleveland signed the law creating Labor Day and celebrating the American worker. Sometimes we get disgruntled with job conditions, but this morning I’m reminded that work conditions today are like a dream vacation compared to what our ancestors endured.
As an employee I’m thankful. While I have worked long hours periodically to meet deadlines, I’ve never worked 14-16 hour days continuously without breaks. I have never had to work in places where my health was at stake. Many workers developed diseases related to their work conditions. Many worked in factories where there were no safety laws and accidents frequently occurred without the benefits of insurance or workers compensation. There were no laws for hiring and termination, and therefore, less job security. Yet, people still came to the United States to chase their dreams.
As a mother and grandmother I feel so blessed that my children and grandchildren will never know the horrors of being forced to work long hours under bad conditions with wages as low as 10 cents a day. They will have the privilege of being able to go to school and obtain an education. Today, this privilege is taken for granted. We rarely think of what it would be like to have never learned to read and write. Our children and grandchildren will know what it’s like to run outside and play, as we did. They will have the opportunity to choose their future.
As a supervisor, I’m grateful that I don’t have to hire and fire without cause. I’m glad that I can let people off when they have a sick child or need a day off to handle personal business. It’s nice to know that if a worker gets hurt on the job, they will be able to receive medical treatment. I enjoy telling new employees that our workplace provides the benefits of health and life insurance.
So, how can we continue providing protection for workers without going too far? One thing I do is to continually evaluate myself and my treatment of employees, so that I don’t create a bad work environment. It brings the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) movement to a whole new level. Jesus understood how to value others, while still accomplishing daily tasks. He was able to engage people to follow him and continue his work after he was gone. He understood the importance of servant leadership. What an amazing leader!
Today, I challenge you to reflect on what Labor Day means in your life. What can you do? God bless you!