Yesterday was the first Monday in October. You know what that means, right? It was Child Health Day which is a public and federal holiday in America. It is important that we know why it is celebrated and how to celebrate it and the importance of this holiday.
Growing up, I am lucky that I was never a part of the culture or society of where children are to be seen and not heard. My parents encouraged us to do what we loved and not just sit in a corner and twiddle our thumbs. It seems as though the government had the same ideas as my parents did and that is why they created a holiday based around children, even though it is about their health (which is very important).
The holiday was first enacted by Congress in 1928, but was not first celebrated until the following year on May 1, 1929. If you noticed the years, the holiday is probably making more sense to you. Most jobs around this time came from mills and factories in cities. Many children were working in mills and factories at this time. Since there were no child labor laws at the time, they needed to be created.
Let’s flash back to the 1920’s. Most people associate it with flappers, bathtub gin and parties. That was not always the case. In the early part of the decade, it is closely associated to long work days, short weekends and minimal education opportunities for children. It seemed that as soon as they knew how to write their name, they could work in a factory. They were used to maneuver machines and get into tight spaces that adults were not able to get into. The children were often killed or injured losing limbs and other vital parts. People began to realize that children needed to stop being hurt and needed more protection. This is possibly the beginning of Child Health Day.
Child welfare is important to everyone, or at least it should be. Since they are our future presidents, CEO’s, and vice presidents, we need to take care of them while they are young so they can achieve their full potential. Prior to congress passing this day, there was not much for child protection, especially in the work place.
Fast forward to 2016 and we celebrate it on the first Monday of the month of October. The President and White House invites people from companies and agencies who are interested in child welfare to gather and learn about child welfare programs and how they can improve them over the year. If this is important to you then there are many ways for you to help.
Research societies. This can be in your local school or a county wide or statewide organization. If you gather enough support you may be recognized and invited to the White House to learn more about it. Even if you are not invited, think about how much you can help your community just by telling them about Child Health Day.
I would write an article for your local paper and discuss what the holiday is about. Discuss child labor laws and how they came about. Write about the conditions that people used to work in and how far we have come as a society and how important it is to move forward rather than move backwards. History often repeats itself, but by learning about it and educating people about it, we can figure out how to keep moving forward.
Go ahead, tell your children about the holiday as well. It is important for them to know about Child Health Day. They need to know about how lucky they are to live in the century that they do. They need to know about the conditions that their grandparents and great grandparents grew up in. I know about my family’s history, and it is important for your kids to know theirs.
Child Health Day is a day of learning and reflecting and being thankful about how far we have come as a society. Do not take any of it for granted. We need to continue to learn and grow as people and this holiday teaches us how.
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