By Brandy Jones-West, M.Ed.
The hustle and bustle of the back-to-school season is starting to wind down and students, teachers and parents are already looking forward to the first school break: Labor Day.
Have you ever asked yourself if your child, grandchild, niece or nephew knows the significance of the Labor Day holiday? Few schools teach in depth about the labor movement and I highly doubt that many children even know why they are out of school. Many of them have no idea that children were once forced into backbreaking jobs in mines, textiles, glass factories, canneries and other place where children don’t belong. Labor activists eventually ended child labor and won better working conditions for adult workers, including the eight-hour workday.
Labor Day honors the social and economic contributions American workers have made to the growth, health and prosperity of our country. It was first celebrated in this country in the 1880s when people commonly worked 12-hour days. The first Labor Day rally, in 1882, was in support of an eight-hour workday. By 1893, more than half the states were observing a “Labor Day” on one day or another, and Congress passed a bill to establish a federal holiday in 1894. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill soon afterward, designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.
Since you support Learners are Leaders, Inc.’s mission – uplifting future leaders through learning towards moral, social and cultural betterment – I know you will use this holiday as a teachable moment or reinforce what you have already instilled in your young leader about the labor force and future careers. Feel free to click on the links below for activities to help facilitate career-conversation with your future leader.