by Deb Hane
In 1894, the United States adopted the first Monday in September as a legal holiday known as Labor Day. As a child, Labor Day was the last day off before going back to school. We’d gather together for a big family picnic. I didn’t really understand the meaning of why we celebrated Labor Day; I was just glad to have a day off to enjoy the end of summer. I imagine most kids are the same. They probably wonder, Why would you celebrate work?
Back in the day, it was the workers who pushed for this holiday. They wanted a time to celebrate the achievements of American workers and their contributions that better our society. Work is actually an important part of life. When kids learn to have a proper perspective toward work, they’ll be more likely to live a productive, contented life.
Here are three positive perspectives about work that you can instill in children.
The first perspective is we were made to work. The Bible tells us God put man in the garden of Eden to work. Work is not bad, or a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, although it did become harder as a result of sin. God knows that work is good for us. It gives us purpose and teaches discipline. As soon as they are able, children should participate in work. They can put their toys away, set and clear the table, and put their dirty clothes in the hamper. Many things that may be considered as “chores” should really be natural parts of our lives. For example, if you make a mess, you clean it up.
As kids get older, they can do the dishes, help with laundry, pull weeds, and mow the grass. Kids will especially like working with you. You can make work fun for your kids, rather than a chore. You can sing a song with them as they pick up their toys or count together and see if they can finish by the time you reach 100. Every summer my family would go camping with cousins and aunts and uncles. After supper we had a line of people clearing the table, washing or drying dishes, and putting things away. We’d talk and tell stories. What could have been a chore became a cherished memory.
The second positive perspective toward work you can teach children is we should work for God. The Bible tells us we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works. And God has given us His Word so we can be equipped for every good work. Help kids understand that work isn’t something they do because you tell them to, or something they do to make others happy, or even for themselves. They should want to work to please God and make Him happy.
The third perspective to help children have a positive view toward work is work will be rewarded. Talk to kids about the rewards of hard work. For example, those who garden get to enjoy the fruits of what they’ve grown and those who build see the results of the finished product. Most people consider getting a paycheck as their reward for work. And God expects His people to work to earn their own living. But do you know God rewards those who do their work for Him? And when we seek to work for the Lord, we can know our labor is meaningful. God will use what we do for good even though we may not see it.
You can encourage kids to work hard by rewarding them. Saying thank you, giving an allowance, offering a special dessert, or taking them some place fun will show them you recognize their hard work. But also remind them God sees and rewards work done for Him.
So let me encourage you this Labor Day to talk with your kids about Labor and the proper perspective toward work. After all, God made us to do work. And when we do our work to please God, we will be rewarded!
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