We celebrated Labor Day by laboring. I did my best to ignore the phone and the doorbell and plowed through our usual Monday curriculum. Bill became the de facto doorman chasing away the neighborhood children who wanted to play. I am quite certain that my children, the neighborhood children, and all the adults in the area are convinced that either 1) homeschooling is an oppressive burden or 2) Fritz and Billy's mom is the meanest person on earth. We were done by 1130 am; it wasn't that bad.
I like a day off as much if not more than any school kid. Believe me. And since I'm not used to starting school in August, I would gladly have taken a four-day weekend like the kids here. But I'm banking my vacation days for October when I'll really need them. My kids will love me then.
And besides, it was Labor Day, a day to honor America's workers. I suppose, being the descendant of factory workers, that I should swell with pride at what blue collar workers have done for my country. I don't know. I have a feeling that most laborers are just trying to put food on the table and a roof over their heads and aren't particularly concerned about the "big picture" and how their little cog moves the great wheel of the US economy. Yes, they worked hard and deserve a pat on the back. But Labor Day isn't like Memorial Day where we honor soldiers who died doing their jobs.
Timed nicely for the "holiday" was this report from the UN about American workers being the most productive in the world. It was a pretty interesting article, not so much for the statistics about industrialized nations but for the comparison to people from other countries. The next time someone talks about "poor people" in America, it might be worth a second of thought to think about what poor really means, on a global scale. An industrial worker in China produces, on average, over $12k worth of output compared to an industrial worker in the US who produces over $104k worth of output. A farmer in China produces $910 (that is nine hundred and ten dollars) worth of output compared to an American farmer who produces over 52 thousand dollars worth of output.
Last year, I spent more on groceries than ten Chinese farmers produced. That's a lot of rice. And I'll bet there's no holiday to recognize their labor either.