Appreciate the work, workers this month
“And when it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May…” Songwriters Ronald White and William “Smokey” Robinson probably had no clue all the images these few words would conjure up when they wrote this classic love song, My Girl.
There’s absolutely something special about May—spring is in full bloom, end of school parties—darned near everything makes me smile. As a child, May Day was always May 1 and we got on the bus and went to school but we didn’t do school work. We got to run and play, eat junk food, and skip math– it was a beautiful day.
Nowadays International Workers Day is celebrated May 1 but I think we should celebrate all month because work is powerful and important. With a historically low unemployment rate, hardly anybody is looking for work these days, but work and the people who perform it, need some appreciation. Every job, big or small, connects to something or somebody else and there’s something powerful about earning your own keep and doing your work well.
My parents taught me if I didn’t work, I would surely “rob and steal.” I believed them and I was taught to “give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.” I swore my mother stayed awake all night conjuring up work—she assured me she didn’t but she never ran out of chores and tasks that needed to be done!
Something always needed chopping, picking, cleaning out, pulling up, or trimming— the more I complained, got threatened with whippings and punishment, the more work I had to do. The thing I most appreciate now is the warm feeling that comes from having done my best.
I was listening to National Public Radio’s Morning Edition last Fall and they interviewed a man who had shined shoes since childhood. He said you can tell a lot about a man by looking at his shoes and how he cares for them. He was past 70 and had no plans to retire because he loved the people and the job. He’s right, the people and the job make all the difference.
Think about all the essential work that gets done all day, every day. The people who work nights and weekends, nursing home attendants, busboys or bus people, sanitation workers, mail carriers, custodians, funeral directors, doctors, nurses—24/7 jobs that keep workers away from home and family.
Today see all the workers and be extra kind. Be patient with the clerks at the post office, the dollar store, and grocery store. Give an extra tip to the beautiful young woman who is harried but always makes sure your coffee cup is filled and your eggs are cooked just right.
Send a note of encouragement to someone who is laid off, injured, and can’t work. This will lift their spirit and if you can, include a small gas or restaurant gift card. Celebrate your favorite teachers and advocate for higher pay on May 7, National Teachers Appreciation Day. Don’t forget to send your favorite teachers a mushy note, and if you passed algebra, do a little holy dance on my behalf. Be blessed and keep shining!
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