Niagara Gazette

Columns

August 1, 2013

HAMILTON: Stable minimum wages and societal progress

Niagara Gazette — Our society is not built upon building material or political legacies, nor is it the quest to make everyone’s lives easy, instead, it is built upon strong and stable families that build societies such as they are, and I don’t know if we truly understand that.

With a worried expression on his face, my then-10-year-old baby, Kenny, walked into my study one day and interrupted my writing by saying, “Dad, when you were a kid and you worked on a farm, did you have fun?”

Kenny had remembered the stories that I had told him about my childhood and how my father made us go out to Lombardi’s Lewiston farm to pick apples, peaches and plums, to cut grapes and to pluck tomatoes. We were allowed to keep all of the money that we made — but for school, dad would only buy us two pairs of pants, two shirts, a pair of shoes and three-pack of underwear and socks — the rest was up to us to buy for ourselves.

Because of it, we developed a work ethic and a higher degree of character than what we would have had if we were allowed to do nothing. By working the farm, we took a great deal of pressure off the family finances and thus allowed dad to more easily pay the mortgage so that he kept a roof over our heads and heat in the wintertime.

We learned to work on Lombardi’s farm, and if we wanted more, then we had to work harder. We developed a work ethic, independence and character, things of which Kenneth was then too young to understand, but later developed in other ways.

It astonished me when Kenny asked me the ‘fun’ question. I looked at him and said, “What!”

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