In the glitz and glamour of celebrity that we so often see in the media, regular, every day people can often be overlooked. I don’t think it’s conscious– it’s not like we say, “Let’s celebrate a guy who can chuck a ball to another guy who can catch a ball over a person who educates 30 squirmy five-year-olds every day.” But it happens. And in the cult of personality where everyone wants to be Somebody, it’s easy to forget and be grateful for all of the people who make our world work every single day. Often, we see them and ignore them or forget that they’re even there… until something goes wrong.
But there are a lot of “regular” people who do extraordinary things. Really interesting things. Really impressive things. Let’s not forget them. Here are 8 ways to salute the average worker– the American Worker:
Say thanks… and mean it
When John’s in uniform and in public, he is often stopped by people he doesn’t know who shake his hand and thank him for his service. It’s a lovely gesture and always appreciated. But how often do we thank our kid’s teacher or the nurse who has just pulled three 12-hour shifts in the ER? A spoken thank-you goes such a long way.
Pay attention to the news. (I know, it can be a bummer.) Pay attention to what’s going on in the world. Be informed about who and what you vote for. After all, the people we elect make the decisions about the conditions and circumstances that our heroes live and work in– from educational policy to grants for local fire departments to deployments for military members.
I love the 1 in 100 Million campaign because it casts a spotlight on different kinds of people and their work. While I don’t know the ins and outs of every job, I can have an appreciation for what other people do– even if I’d never, ever want to do it. (Like diffusing a bomb. Yeah, no.) Before watching this month’s 1 in 100 Million webisode, I never knew that National Guardsmen sometimes were called in as security for special events. Disaster relief, yes. The Super Bowl, no. Learn a little bit more about a variety of workers through the 1 in 100 Million campaign. They’re featuring a different worker every month– from this month’s feature on the National Guard to a baseball bat maker, and everyone in between.
Spend a little time offering your time and working alongside the people who make your community better. Ask what needs to be done– you’ll be surprised where a simple offer will lead you. If you don’t have a personal contact, work with a local service organization, like The Red Cross or a community group.
Make a care package
Care packages are always fun– and always a surprise. If you don’t want to make a care package, drop off a box of doughnuts for the EMTs in your area or bring coffee to the teacher’s lounge on the last day of school.
When I was a kid, my parents would schedule factory tours into our vacations. (I’m not kidding.) Among other places, we visited a soda bottling plant and a lab where synthetic gemstones were made. It’s gave me an appreciation of the different kinds of work and skills that people have– plus it’s just kind of cool to learn in the ins and outs of an industry that you don’t know much about. Many factories and workplaces offer tours of their facilities. Schedule one that meets your fancy.
Adopt a family
Especially in military families, the responsibilities of a parent or spouse can often leave the rest of the family behind. If you know a family that needs a little extra love and care, ask them what they need. And then do it.
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Educate your kids
Talk about the value of hard work with your kids. Talk about different kinds of work. Talk about the need for different kinds of people with different kinds of skill sets and interests. Help them find a respect for people of all kinds of professions and interests. The 1 in 100 Million video series is great for this too! The videos are short and sweet… and interesting! They put a face on a particular profession– perfect for helping kids learn in just a few minutes.