The Dignity of Work

Today we are celebrating Labor Day, a day set aside to celebrate the hard work and achievements of America’s workers. We are celebrating the backbone of what makes our communities the strength of our society.

What does work mean? Work means sharing the load of society, contributing to our communities. The dignity of having a job and access to basic health care are the two most important factors if you wish to be healthy. Prepare yourself to be able to work, if you wish to be spiritually, mentally, and physically healthy. Have proper education and training, maintain your fitness, and not misuse drugs or alcohol. Remain engaged in life and culture, work as long as you are able, if you wish to age well. The secret to a long and satisfying life is to work, to contribute, to have a purpose and to participate. It is through work that ordinary people can accomplish the extraordinary, as they demonstrate their special talents.

My work as a physician has meant that I have spent all of this Labor Day weekend being available for and taking care of my patients. I am a bit tired, but satisfied, as I have done my best. There is great satisfaction in using all of my talent, energy and abilities in the service of others, in pitching in.

If our government wishes to truly serve the people of Oregon, it must keep its eye on the target that prepares and supports Oregon’s citizens in the dignity of their work. This requires great education and training and retraining of Oregon’s citizens. Oregon needs an abundance and variety of jobs. There should be support and encouragement of entrepreneurs, business owners, and their workers.

Let us do away with our indifference when citizens become unable to work and our unwillingness to help and encourage people to re-enter the workforce, to once again become strong, independent and contributing.

Use this Labor Day to celebrate our opportunity to work, to contribute, and to truly live!