Written by Deb del Villar, Director of Communications
Labor Day has come to be known for the parades, picnics, fireworks, and parties that occur alongside this federal holiday. However, it would be interesting to ask our grandchildren if they understand why we celebrate Labor Day.
Here are some facts to share with them!
A Brief History of Labor Day
Labor Day was set aside and signed into law on June 28, 1894, by President Grover Cleveland, as a day to remember the contributions and achievements of the American worker. This federal holiday would be celebrated on the first Monday in September each year as a national holiday.
In the 19th century, Americans worked much longer hours than the 40-hour work week we are most familiar with. In fact, the average worker worked 12-hour days, seven days a week. Hard to believe that even children as young as 5 were working in factories during this time. This was a hard time in the history of our nation.
Labor Day is a way to pay tribute to the many contributions and hard toil that workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being. Depending on the age of your grandchildren you can share more information with them.
Some other fun facts are that it was first celebrated in New York City in 1882 with Oregon declaring it an official holiday in 1887. Canada celebrated Labor Day before the United States ever did. Labor Day was enacted into law more than two decades before the US Department of Labor existed.
The Bible’s Teachings on Work
Labor Day could be a good time to talk about what it means to be a good worker.
Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Share verses with your grandchildren that speak to being a good worker and not lazy. You can mention that Scripture also teaches that employers are to treat their employees fairly (Matthew 7:12 & Colossians 4:1).
For many Labor Day represents the end of summer even though the first day of Autumn is not until September 23rd. Additionally, for many grandchildren, this is also back-to-school season.
So what are some fun things you can do with your grandkids to celebrate this time of year?
- Did you know this is considered the “unofficial NFL season kickoff”? Often the NFL plays its first official season game the Thursday after Labor Day. In honor of the NFL season starting back up, why not watch a game with your grandkids? Do you know their favorite college or pro football team? Ask them why they chose that team. This is a great conversation starter throughout this season. If your grandkids are not nearby, you can still check in with them and find out how their team is doing. In past years, we have done fantasy football leagues with our grandchildren as a way to keep in touch.
- The first Waffle House opened on Labor Day in 1955, in Avondale Estates, GA. Why not go out for breakfast to a Waffle House or make waffles at home? If your grandkids live far away, send them a gift card to Waffle House or the ingredients to make waffles at home.
- Who knew Labor Day was considered the end of hot dog season? According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans typically eat 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. That equates to 818 hot dogs eaten every second during that time. Have your grandkids over for a cookout with hot dogs and all the fixings. Labor Day is known for picnics so this is a great way to celebrate.
- Thousands of expectant moms will go into labor on Labor Day, with more than 10,000 babies being born [U.S. Center for Disease and Prevention]. Do you know anyone who was born on Labor Day?
Here are more end-of-summer ideas, not necessarily connected to Labor Day.
- Why not do some star gazing as it is still warm enough to sit out or lay on a blanket to look up at the stars?
- Get in one more trip to the Farmers Market, picking up the fruits and vegetables still available. If you find fresh peaches, pick some up and come home to make homemade peach ice cream. Enjoy a bowl while you play your favorite card or board game.
- Have your grandkids help you compile a Fall Bucket List of activities they would like to do with you.
- If your grandkids are long-distance, mail them some back-to-school supplies along with hot chocolate or apple cider.
Seasons Change, But God Remains the Same
As you finish your Labor Day celebrations, help your grandchildren look back to why Labor Day was created and how grateful we are today for the changes that came.
Point out too that while one season (summer) ends, another season is upon us. Whether they are looking forward to this change or not, let them know some things never change. Your love for them is steadfast and you will be there cheering them on in this next season.
Even more importantly, point them to Psalm 100:5, “For the Lord is good, his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Share Malachi 3:6 where God tells us “For I the Lord do not change.”
God is indeed the same today, tomorrow, and forever. Encourage your grandchildren to rest in this powerful truth.