President David O. McKay said, "Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that the power to work is a blessing, that love of work is success" (quoted by Franklin D. Richards, “The Gospel of Work,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1969, 101).
For anyone who cannot work, they can testify (maybe more than others) that the privilege to work is a gift. My father-in-law, for example, cannot work because of a disability caused by a terrible car accident, and he wishes every day that he could work. He wishes that he could support his family so that his wife didn't have to work. He misses being productive and useful and building his talents and knowledge, and he has encouraged and taught his sons about the gift of work. There is so much freedom in this privilege–freedom from debt and stresses caused by lack of work, freedom from living off of the government or others, the freedom to grow and develop.
The power to work very much is a blessing. In the United States, we are given that power, that freedom. We can go get jobs to contribute to society, to earn a living, and to build up our country. We have a great responsibility because of that power–we are responsible to use our power to work to make the world a better place. Just like our baptismal and temple covenants require, we should use our power to do good and to bless the poor and needy. We need to use our power to work to empower others who may not know that they, too, can work hard and have a good life.
President McKay also said that the love of work is success. He didn't say the love of your "job" or the love of your "tasks" or even the love of your "chores" is success, but he said the love of work is success. If we learn to love to work, to be productive, to use our bodies/minds/spirits for a good cause, then we will be successful. If one hates to work, one will not become successful. I know people who hate work and yet want success–it does not come to them. They wander aimlessly putting in as little effort as possible, wondering why they aren't getting the results that they want. As a contrast, my husband is a very hard worker and loves to work. He enjoys physical labor as well as mental labor. He is studying to be a mechanical engineer, and he looks forward to working every day. Not only does he work hard at his job, but he works hard in his studies and works hard at home to help me keep the house and children in order. He loves work and because of that, he has found success to be his constant companion, and I have no doubt that he will the rest of his life.
Let us be grateful for every opportunity that we have to work. I hope that those who are searching for work will find chances to excel. I pray that those of you who don't enjoy work will learn to love it, for hard work (although it may sound counterproductive) will give you the success and peace you long for.
Happy Labor Day!
What are some ideas you have for teaching your children the importance of hard work?
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