Labor Day, 2016: Appreciation of each other

The definition of Labor Day is "A day observed in the U.S. on every first Monday in September as a day to recognize the contributions of American workers of all industries to the U.S. economy." It was first promoted by Matthew Maguire, of the American Federation of Labor, a machinist in May 1882. It became a Federal Holiday in 1894 under President Grover Cleveland.

We just celebrated this day dedicated to Labor of all kinds which continues to help the U.S. economy. The American worker is the fundamental basis of our economy. Every job you have ever had has helped our economy and our country. There is a dignity in work that is as sacred as all of human history. Whatever your job... YOU ARE SACRED TO THIS COUNTRY.

Sometimes I think we have lost an appreciation for the dignity of work, maybe we need to take a serious look at how we convey an appreciation and a dignity about work to our American culture. I remember so clearly our three children working so diligently during their high school days and college years. I remember my wife working so faithfully while we were raising our three wonderful children. The effort to survive through hard work is what contributes to the dignity of a family, a state, a nation. There are 85.9 million people who state that they do not want a job. Half of these are 55 and older and the other half are under 55. More and more people are leaving the labor force for many different reasons.

Honest work needs to be rewarded appropriately. This is an absolute priority. But before we start increasing the minimum wage, which I think we should, maybe we need to have a philosophy and a theology about work that is advertised, promoted and affirmed in every aspect of life. We need to have bill board signs, Facebook messages, twitter statements, television programs and advertising that promote the dignity, contributions, and value of work.

Life is meant to be creative and energizing. Work is always creative if I have the correct attitude. The idea of working so I can retire may need to be changed a bit. Maybe retirement is to have sufficient money to continue a creative life style that helps each of us personally and indirectly helps the whole nation.

We are all in this life together. We are all interdependent upon one another and globally each nation is interdependent upon one another. No one can exist alone. Yet this is an awareness that we are fearful to acknowledge and admit.

Labor Day reminds us that we need one another to work and contribute for the betterment of all. It reminds us that every person is precious and should be respected and affirmed. Just wages should be paid to all. Retirement is good but creativity and sharing what we have with others is always needed.

To work at a job or a profession or movement is to give the world a gift. Every hour of work and creativity is a gift to the world. A Labor force needs to be always appreciated and shown gratitude.

This past Labor Day reminded me that all work is sacred and all work is creative and leads to something that betters our nation. It also leads to a man and a woman bringing their whole personality, their emotional and spiritual life into what they are doing. When we can convey the dignity of work to our culture we will start to have a dignity of appreciation for one another and a respect for one another. Then when issues like raising minimum wages come up, there will be no problem in saying yes. I need the waiter and waitress just as much as I need a president, a pope, a supervisor, and a million dollars. I need you and you need me to have a healthy and well-balanced life. We need to be in this life journey together. Labor Day and Labor Day weekend with all its' celebrations and parades is a good reminder of this. We are all in this journey together.

Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@ and his website is

Published: Thu, Sep 08, 2016