Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day Learning Fun

{whistle while you work}

I hope you all are having a fabulous Labor Day weekend.  My boys are so very excited to have their daddy home for an extra day this weekend...  As we enjoy time together as a family, we also plan to take some time to learn about the origins of Labor Day and commemorate the day a bit.  All of life is full of learning opportunities, isn't it?!?!?

The older I get, the more I see that I am becoming more and more like my mother.  Speaking of my mother, this very creative woman has put together a fabulous resource for having some fun while turning our attention to what Labor Day is all about.

{Huge sigh of relief}  Because my creative juices ebb and flow pretty erratically over here at this point in the pregnancy.  I just keep telling myself 4(ish) more weeks. 

 So today, she is 'guest posting' and sharing her fabulous ideas for the whole family from the littlest to the grandparents!  ENJOY!

Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Labor Day first began in the 1880s as a day off for the hardworking men and women of America.

Today Labor Day continues to celebrate the efforts of the working person though over the years, it has evolved from a purely labor union celebration into a general last fling of summer.  Labor Day grew out of a celebration and parade in honor of the working class by the Knights of Labor in 1882 in New York. The Knights passed a resolution to hold all future parades in September which was selected to reject any identification with May Day, when the Socialists and Communists commemorated the working man.

The Bible has some good things to say about work and labor:      
  • Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Eph. 4:28
  • Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time. Proverbs 13:4
  • The laborer is worthy of his wages. Luke 10:7
And our countries leaders have said some great things as well:
  • A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned -- this is the sum of good government.- Thomas Jefferson
  • Work is not a curse, it is the prerogative of intelligence, the only means to manhood, and the measure of civilization. -Calvin Coolidge
So what to do on labor day – especially with your family and friends:
  1. Whistle While You Work - Your chores will get done faster if you whistle, chant or sing!  Workers in the fields used to set up a steady rhythm and sing about what their jobs entailed to make the time go faster.  You can sing one of the following songs or make up your own about the chores you are doing.  For instance you can sing about dusting, picking up the (various) toys, making your bed, etc. Make three or four verses that you repeat over and over.  Since I am not musical I pick a familiar tune such as The Farmer in the Dell, and write my own lyrics.  Here are some classics:
  2. Career Dress Up Day – Ask the children what they would like to be when they grow up.  Let them dress up and pretend to do that.  I would like to do this as a Labor Day party next year!  But you can do it spontaneously this year.
  3. Thank you to a Worker – Write (or draw) a card to send to someone whose work you particularly appreciate – maybe a policeman, or a fireman, your doctor, the grocery store clerk or butcher, or the garbage collector (aren’t all kids fascinated with that job?)
  4. Labor Games – Play charades or Pictionary with these printable “occupation” cards. There are easy ones of the kids, and some harder ones for the teens and adults.  With a little work you could set up taboo cards if you prefer.
  5. Read a Book
  6. Have a Discussion – Pick one or more of these questions
    • Is work good? Why or why not?
    • Which is more important, free trade or fair trade? Why?
    • Is all work of equal value to society? Why or why not?
    • (For the kids) What do you hope to do when you grow up? Why? What steps can you take now to help you achieve your goals?
    • (For the adults) What do you like most about your current job? What do you like least? If you could change careers, would you? Why or why not?
    • (For the Grandparents) How has the work force changed in our country during your lifetime?
    • In the US child labor is largely a thing of the past. In other parts of the world, children are still considered a vital part of the work force. Do you think this is good or bad? Why? At what age do you believe children should be allowed to work? What kinds of jobs do you think are appropriate for children?  For teens?
  7. Watch a Movie (First three are fun, last two pretty sobering)
    • The Incredibles (All Ages) Mr. Incredible is a hard working man providing for his family. (I know this is a stretch, but I wanted to list one movie for the little ones. :-)
    • Newsies (All Ages)  A favorite of our family.  My SIL mentioned that the movie makes business the bad guy and unions the good guys.  Yeah, but I still like the movie.
    • The Pajama Game (Teens and up)  Fun with Doris Day and the unions!
    • Tucker - The Man and His Dream (Older kids and up)
    • On the Waterfront (Teens and up)
    • The Grapes of Wrath (Teens and up)
Colene Lewis
wife, mother, speaker, curriculum writer (KONOS Russia curriculum) and currently working for The Alliance Defense Fund.


  1. So this is why dinner was delayed until almost 8:00pm last night. Wow! Great job honey! Well thought out. Thoughtful questions! Let's talk free trade verses fair trade at the family dinner tonight. Now please pass the salt and pepper.

    I wonder how Keegan and Xander will dressed for Labor Day. Did they emerge from their room with golf visors on and gloves in hand?


  2. Does golf really count as labor??? But yes, the two biggers are dressed as golfers and the little guy just went to transform himself into Superman...again.