Ben’s Holiday Lesson: Why is it a Holiday If There’s Nothing to Celebrate?

Ben put his carefully thought-out lunchbox selection into the shopping cart. Ben and his mother, Gaby, were purchasing last minute school supplies requested to be brought with each child on the first day of school, the Tuesday after Labor Day. Excited about the first day of ‘real’ school, Ben asked Gaby, every single day since pre-K graduation, “how many more days until kindergarten?” Gaby replied that, when their final trip of the summer to their cabin, during Labor Day weekend, was over, school would begin the morning after they returned. She did not tell him they would be cleaning out the cabin to be put up for sale. “Mommy, what is Labor Day?” This year, answering that question was going to be almost as difficult as the first inquiries into the ‘birds and the bees.’

“Ben, Labor Day is a national holiday celebrating the dedicated workforce, made up of men and women all over the United States, who spend a great deal of their time at their jobs, contributing to our economy while providing income to take care of their families.”

“Income is like money to buy lunchboxes, pencils and food, right, Mom?”

“Yes, that’s right, and income buys clothes, band-aids, and provides hot water for your bath, which you desperately need, today, young man!”

“Where do we get our income from since you and Daddy stay home all day? Isn’t your job to be a Mommy and Daddy’s job is to be a Daddy? How much money do you get paid to do that?”

“Well, Ben, being parents is the most important and greatest job we have. But, Daddy used to build cars as his contribution to the workforce. When you were two, he stopped doing that work because other people stopped working at their jobs, so they couldn’t buy new cars. Since his bosses were not selling the cars Daddy already made, they did not need him to make any more. So, he has been looking for another job since. We don’t get money for being parents, but we saved money along the way, and the President and his workers gave us a little money in the beginning., But, they ran out of money, too. President Obama cannot get his workers to pay the country’s other bills, either.”

“President Obama doesn’t have any money? Daddy can do a million things like fix bikes, build tree-houses, and make a zillion lights work at Christmas. He could teach President Obama and his workers how to do those things, too.”

“You’re right, Daddy has many skills. But, there are too many workers, with many, many skills, who had to stop working at their jobs because people could not buy the things they were making and selling, either. The President and his workers have been trying, for a very long time, to come up with ways to pay America’s bills and help people, like Daddy, find new ways to become part of the workforce, again.”

“OK, well, Mom, then why do they call Labor Day a holiday? Holidays are supposed to be celebrations and super-fun. This doesn’t sound like any fun at all!”

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *