Generations of legal emigrants came to, and continue to desire to, enter the United States of America to seek and find a better life and lifestyle with the freedom to practice their faith in God and not be subjected to the rule of a king, dictator or other form of oppressive government. They came, as did the returning veterans from WWII, with a certain identifiable work-ethic and desire whereby their life was focused on commitment, dedication and service to others, including family, friends, neighbors, church, community, state, country and employers. These men and women understood and accepted their responsibilities and obligations, and believed that “work,” in all of its various forms, was an honor, a duty and a privilege in order to make the situation better than it was previously. Each seemed to respect and appreciate the different skills and desires of each person, and the contributions which each made by the use of their God-given talents and abilities. A recent survey of Asian Americans found their outlook to be more positive/optimistic since they highly valued “hard work,” marriage and family.
“Work” or “labor” is the means or way to take personal responsibility for one’s self, and to achieve a certain level of self-reliance for one’s future. When assistance was needed by a person or family in the past, they turned to their family, friends, associates, neighbors, employer or church, and not the government. Whether one performed a large or a small task, they were doing such to make a current situation or circumstance better than it was previously by providing service to, and/or for, another. Unfortunately, today we see “work” cast in a very different light and not viewed as being either a duty, an honor, and/or a privilege.
First, it is our “duty” to work and to labor. As a created being, (with a heart, a soul, a mind, and a free will) each of us was gifted with certain talents, abilities, and resources. Our mission in life is to be of service to our creator and to one another, and to use said talents in the furtherance of this mission. We have a duty to care for ourselves, our families, and others who might need our assistance. Our work becomes a sacred duty since our failure to use our gifts and talents is viewed as selfish and wasteful. The American culture and society was built upon this duty of service to God, to country and to others. Our collective work has produced for America the highest standard of living found anywhere in the world to enjoy. All work, of any lawful, ethical and moral type, is worthwhile since the task, regardless of its importance or significance, is needed and valued to improve the situation or circumstance at that time.
Work or labor is an “honor.” It is indeed an honor to use one’s ability and talents to improve, assist, enhance and/or advise another and to put another’s needs in advance of one’s own. To give one’s best efforts in an endeavor is honorable when the object or goal is to make the situation or the circumstance better because of the selfless efforts exerted for the benefit of, or service to, another. Whatever we do in a compensated job setting, or as a volunteer, and whatever work we perform, we should do so to the best of our abilities and talents since we are honored to be able to do so with the gifts and time that we have been given.
Work or labor is a “privilege.” Unfortunately, many people are no longer able to perform work of any kind, and must rely upon assistance or help from others, whether paid or not. Our ability to be able to perform work or labor, regardless of type, significance, difficulty or pay scale, is truly a “privilege” which should be appreciated and respected. Any person able to perform work, should do so, whether compensated or volunteer, since any and all contributions to the improvement of the situation or circumstances of others is worthwhile and purposeful.
Many will be fortunate to have time-off from work, for the holiday on Monday, September third. However, we should all remember those who are working on this day to insure that we can enjoy our lifestyle filled with the freedom to travel, shop, and/or participate in recreational, family and/or civic and social events, etc. Special thanks are due to our military, intelligence and Armed Forces, and all law enforcement, firefighter, and emergency and other medical service personnel, for their work, and daily displays of self-less commitment to others. As you encounter a sales or stock clerk, a cashier, a flight attendant, a server in a food establishment or any other service or product provider, thank them for their efforts, in working to make our life experience better and for being of service to another.
Many Americans are currently unable to find a job with compensation, for whatever reason, and yet are still able to contribute and be of assistance to others by their work efforts. Any and all tasks which improve a situation or circumstance from its current state is admirable, needed and worthy of respect. Those who have work positions of any type have a duty, an honor and a privilege, in their work, and should realize that many will not be working not only on Monday, the third of September, but also many days after Labor Day. Commitment, dedication and service to others, and/or our community, church, city, state and country through work, compensated and volunteer, made America great in the past and will continue to be the source of Her greatness in the future.
As in the past, the below special prayer seems appropriate for Labor Day, and for every day thereafter…..
“Lord, obtain for me the grace to toil in the spirit of penance, in order thereby to atone for my many sins; to toil conscientiously, putting devotion to duty before my own inclinations; to labor with thankfulness and joy, deeming it an honor to employ and develop, by my labor, the gifts I have received from Almighty God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties; to work above all with a pure intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must then render of time ill-spent, of talents unemployed, of good undone, and of my empty pride in success, which is so fatal to the work of God….”
Hope that you, your family, friends, neighbors and associates enjoyed a safe and happy Labor Day!
J.H. Campbell, Jr.
President/CEO of Associated Grocers, Inc.