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"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

As a child, I didn't understand Labor Day, except as the last holiday before school started. Remember when school started in September? After Labor Day?

Work didn't have any meaning to me - except for Mum, the adults in my life didn't work. Not until I was much older, in my teens, did I learn that one had to earn the money to buy what one needed or wanted - until then, I just asked for it and someone gave it to me. Don't get your knickers in a twist - I rarely asked for it, because I just didn't care about "stuff".

If you teach your kids nothing about finances, if you shelter them from the reality of bills, of debt, of income and outgo, you are doing them a disservice. I'm not saying your two-year-old needs to know the ins and outs of high finance, but there's nothing wrong with gently explaining that the toy, kid's meal, or trip to Chuck-E-Cheese they want can't happen right now because it's not in the budget.

If I'd known about budget, about saving for the items I wanted instead of using credit, I never would have had to declare bankruptcy way back in the dark ages of my past.

There's nothing wrong with a little delayed gratification.

I've never been able to hold a regular job. Anywhere from the first day to six months in, I used to look around my workplace for ways to kill myself. I figured that's not really healthy, so I moved on from job to job until I gave it up entirely. Luckily, my family has understood my preference for not offing myself with a deep-fryer, glass cutter, razor blade, pneumatic stapler, pizza cutter, or and other otherwise useful and generally harmless tool of one trade or another. I'm blessed, and I know it - plenty of people have no choice but to work shit jobs just to struggle to keep their family in Ramen.

Now I'm a wee more grown up (well, older at least), and I am still a little hazy on this whole Labor Day thing - what's it all about? Does anyone else find it a little ironic that our nation celebrates labor by not working??

Oh, well...happy Labor Day anyway.

3 comments:

RachelW said...

One of my first jobs was in a shoe store-- a chain that no longer exists. I figured after the chain went bankrupt that it must be karmic retribution for how they used me then chucked me, like they did to so many young workers. Anyhow, your post reminded me of one of the early-industrial-age machines we used in that store. They had an old-fashioned cash register where you punched in the numbers, then drew down a metal arm to generate the receipt and open the till. That would be quite an interesting device to harm oneself with! It would take some creativity to describe how the injury was inflicted on the Worker's Comp forms, but it would have been worth the hassle. ;)

chris said...

Many schools now including mine, start school before labor day. You know in the Philippines they celebrate Labor Day like the rest of the world on May 1 and they celebrate by going to the beach.

It's rather ironic to not work during Labor Day, but hey, I ain't complaining.

Kit said...

What I found about the origins of the US Labor Day holiday:
http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/laborday.htm

Enjoy, and go chill. :) See you Wednesday!