“Saturday’s child works hard for a living . . ”
There’s nothing wrong with “hard work”. Some days I miss physical labor and have to make an effort to “get some exercise”. I sit for far too many hours in a chair, at a desk. It’s where I work. Not in a field or on a farm.
We have raised our children, you and I, so they wouldn’t have to “work hard for a living”. We have emphasized from an early age the importance of learning, schoolwork and academic success. I have done my best to stress the importance of “the learning, not the grade” but there have been times where I winced or hollered about grades . . all the while worried that my son or daughter might have to . . work hard for a low wage, low expectation living. As if things mattered: owning stuff, having stuff.
Sure, things matter, like having a roof over your head, a coat on your back and food on the table, but after covering the basics – which includes all the human values and experiences that are unbound to money, such are love and happiness and health (yes, wealth does not equal healthy living) – what does having to “work hard for your money” have to do with whether a human being has had a life well lived?
So, from the comfort of your homes and our comfortable lives let us give thanks to those who work hard for a living . . so our living might be just a little bit easier or more enjoyable.
Let’s not look down on those who fill our gas tanks, clear our tables, pick up our trash, clean toilets, haul coal, transport waste, cut grass, work in factories or otherwise make a living by the strength of their back and their tolerance for work that many of us could not imagine.
In my lifetime I have cleaned offices, polished floors, cleaned bathrooms, drove truck, hauled furniture, driven forklift, packed books in boxes, cut grass and many other jobs “for a living”. My wife, God bless her, waited tables, while I was studying law, before she got her first “real job” (as a scientist, with a masters degree in microbiology).
I have, my wife says, a soft spot in my heart for waitresses and waiters, especially “the good ones” – the ones who do their job with heart and serious attention to details and the diner’s experience. I know they work hard for the money because I remember how tired she was when she arrived home after a long shift at Howard Johnson’s or Olga’s restaurant. I remember how we would count out the change on the counter and have a mini celebration when she brought home a fistful of bills that included the occassinal fiver or “fin” or even a ten dollar bill.
So, you’ve heard it all before and I know I’m not going to change the hearts and minds of many, but if it’s just you – YOU – who has read this far and is reminded of the true nature of things, and you go out this holiday season and for the rest of the year being just a bit more grateful and kind to and generous to those who “work hard for a living” then I say . . .