2011-12-08 / Editorial

Scattering Seeds

BY JOHN A. MURPHY

Work is redemptive. Whether it is hard physical labor, mind-numbing repetitive steps, a creative enterprise, or a mentally challenging task, under most circumstances, work has a clarifying impact, and brings a substantial sense of satisfaction to the person performing the work.

This sense of satisfaction can, again under most circumstances, be completely independent of the compensation that the worker receives for his or her work.

This linkage of work to good feelings about one’s self is important to establish at an early age. Thus, chores in a family setting are important even for very young children. The performance of the chores brings praise (and not necessarily an allowance), and the child learns the pleasure of helping in a team effort.

We need to be aware that there are circumstances that clearly undermine or destroy the inherent joy that can be garnered from work. Injustice, unfairness, abuse, cruelty or similar negatives associated with the work almost certainly will destroy its beneficial impact.

Many of us recognize that we have had a very fortunate existence. One of the things for which I am most grateful is that my parents stressed the value of work, and encouraged their children to diligently seek it out. They sought to instill a belief in the dignity of performing well even the most lowly of tasks.

Most of all, they inspired a respect for those for whom society, many times unfairly and unjustly, assigned, without regard to ability, a lifetime of hard and poorly paid work.

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