Labor Day Lessons

Pause to thank your Heavenly Father for your job, and go to work knowing you make a difference!

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Posted in , Sep 1, 2014

Blogger Michelle Medlock Adams

For many, the first Monday in September of every year is simply a much-needed day off work, but it’s truly more than that. Labor Day was established to recognize and honor the social and economic achievements of American workers.

It’s a day that we pause as a nation to celebrate the contributions that American workers have made to the strength, prosperity, integrity, and overall health of our great country.

Michelle Medlock Adams with her father, Walter Medlock.For me, it’s a day for giving thanks that I have a job I love–a job that allows me to follow my passion of writing and sharing stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness. But, it’s also a time of remembering and being grateful for the lessons my father, the late Walter Medlock, taught me about work ethic and integrity.

Growing up in very humble circumstances, my Dad worked from the time he was old enough to get a job. From delivering newspapers to selling cars to eventually co-owning several furniture stores with his cousin and best friend, the late Jay Hale, my Dad enjoyed his work.

Dad was a true people person, investing in everyone he encountered. He wasn’t just selling someone a dining room suit–he was making a new friend.

I learned three key lessons from observing my Dad at work and in life.

First, Daddy was the same person with a customer when he was in full “sales mode” as he was when he gave instructions to the delivery boys who worked for him.

He was kind, respectful and helpful. I can’t tell you how many people came to my Dad’s funeral and said, “You know, your dad is the only one I would buy my furniture from. He always took care of me.”

Second, Dad always said, “Integrity is working just as hard when no one is watching.” Dad didn’t do anything in life for accolades; he did his best and gave his all day in and day out–no matter who was watching. And I was always watching.

Third, Dad always went the extra mile for his customers, his employees, his family, his church, and his community. I’ll never forget the day when Dad let a customer return a couch that the customer had damaged by disregarding the care tag and washing the cushions in an industrial-strength commercial washing machine.

She was visibly mad when she came into the furniture store that afternoon, and Dad immediately went up to greet her. After hearing her complaints, Dad didn’t ask any questions, even though he knew she was at fault.

Instead, he replaced the couch with a new sofa. Before the afternoon was over, she thanked Dad for his kindness and shared with him about her recent divorce and health battles, and Daddy ended up praying with her. She left with a new sofa and a new heart.

No matter where I’ve worked over the years, I’ve always tried to keep those three key lessons in mind in honor of my earthly father and my Heavenly Father. I hope you’ll do the same. The working world, and the world in general, would be better if we had more Walter Medlocks.

So, happy Labor Day everyone. Thank you for the work you do and for investing your time and talents as part of America’s workforce. Because of you and people like you, we live in the greatest country in the world.

I hope you enjoy this holiday, surrounded by family and friends. I pray that you’ll pause long enough to thank your Heavenly Father for your job and go into work tomorrow with a little more pep in your step, knowing that you make a difference.

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