4 Ways To Put The Meaning Back In Labor Day

I don't know about you, but Labor Day seems to me like a non-holiday these days, amounting to nothing more than a long weekend that gently ushers in the autumn. Established as a celebration "of the social and economic achievements of American workers." it is the perfect opportunity to teach your children about the workforce and ways to show their gratitude for the countless people whose hard work affect their lives, from doctors to teachers to garbage collectors to cooks.

It's also a good time to talk to them about your own job and why you chose it. And if you really want to get their little minds whirling, ask them how they want to make the world a better place instead of what they want to be when they grow up (this brilliant gem was a friend's suggestion).

1. Watch the "1 in 100 Million" video series

These short, well-packaged films each delve into one person's job. Interviewees include a zookeeper, professional pinball player, swim instructor, electrician, firefighter and many more.

2. Read a book about jobs Or better yet, read a book about changing the world for the better. These three series -- Little People, Big Dreams; Ordinary People Change the World; and Community Helpers -- are all good places to start for younger kids.

3. Write and deliver thank you notes to a few workers who touch your lives

Have the kids pen a quick note to their local librarian, mail carrier, teacher, supermarket clerk, donut maker...It's starting to feel like a Daniel Tiger episode in here, but you get the point.

4. Head to the Truck Parade & Ice Cream Social This motorized march of big rigs from Zeeland to Holland makes for an unforgettably close-up look at the workforce on a massive scale and is sure to drive home the point that people are behind the things we use and the foods we eat each day. Plus there's ice cream. For free. And did we mention the big trucks?

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