The basic categories of life are family, community (including religious and political activities), jobs, and education. If adults add one word to each of those categories, we can create more equality between all sorts of groups.
Add the word “work”.
Family work includes parenting, housework, cooking, shopping, and caregiving, etc.
Community work includes individual, small group, or organizational volunteer work.
Job work includes anything that creates income, wherever or whenever it occurs.
Education work includes any adult learning inside and outside the classroom.
The idea that adults do work for their education highlights the work children do. Children are workers when they are in school. For a factory to produce anything worth producing, it needs several elements in place:
To become job workers, community workers, and family workers as adults, all children need safety, technology, equipment, resources, and qualified personnel in their schools.
Using these four categories and adding the word work, “stay-at-home mothers” are family workers.
Parents may alternate between family work and job work or do both simultaneously. The work is simultaneous when they operate businesses from their homes or take their children to their workplaces.
Childless adults who take care of aging parents alternate job work with family work.
Adding the word “work” to what we do for our families makes family work equal in importance to job work.
Adding the word “work” to what we do for our communities makes community work equal to job work.
Adding the word “work” to education makes education work equal to family work, job work, and community work.
Seeing everyone as workers gives everyone positive identities for the work they do in each category. The time we spend on each category of work will change as our life circumstances change. All of it is still work. Society could not exist if one of these categories disappeared, so workers in each category are as important as workers in all of the other categories.
Adding the word “work” to each category as you go about your daily life means creating more equality for yourself. You can use “working” as well:
“I’m job working until 3:00, then I’ll be family working the rest of the day.”
People who don’t want you to be equal may object. Respond by adding the word “work” to the situations and roles in their lives. Giving equality to other people opens doors to serendipitous success for you.
I wrote about adding the word “work” to situations. One woman who likes the idea added the word “work” to a role — wife work. Leslie Brown is project manager for Omada Marketing and does everything I described — family work, education work, job work, community work. Within each of those situations are a variety of roles. Any role has work to it, so adding the word “work” to all roles creates equality between roles within a situation.
Paula M. Kramer
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