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Rescuing an unsung holiday

Culture

In the wake of the well-known holy days of Passover and Easter comes a holiday that’s in danger of being overlooked, perhaps even slighted. Today is Administrative Professionals Day, and while those recent religious holidays seem preoccupied with historical and theological details, the welcoming premise of today’s celebration behooves us to rescue it from obscurity. For who does not administer something?

I grant that Administrative Professionals Day may not have originally been so accessible. It likely was conceived to include only those employed and remunerated for administrative efforts. But such a narrow definition undermines what seems to be its true spirit. I prefer to think of it as a living holiday, in which your beloved administrator doesn’t have to be actually paid for his or her efforts so long as they administer it in a professional manner. Which means my wife should certainly be celebrated for administering me and our eight children—a handful let me tell you.

I encourage you to likewise enlarge your vision of the holiday and build goodwill by congratulating all the administrators in your world. Take the opportunity to hail the mail carrier, who faithfully administers the mail. Pop off a note to congressional aides, who administer the cranky congressmen and congresswomen who in turn have to administer us cantankerous citizens—a surly lot! While you’re at it, salute the president our administrator in chief (Obamacare notwithstanding).

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But by all means don’t neglect your local heroes. Don’t forget your mother-in-law, who faithfully administers all your faults by keeping very close track of them, which is no picnic! Give the kids a big hug, since they diligently administer your money and ensure every last penny finds its rightful home outside the home. Throw an extra treat to the dog who maintains and administers your emotional well-being by being happy to see you even when you don’t remotely deserve it. In short, be lavish with your praise and thanks to those who administer your life. We already have 364 days a year to grouse and complain, so spend one in thankful reflection for those who help manage your unwieldiness. And last but not least, buy yourself some candy and roses, for surely you administer something, too, if it’s only your socks and underwear.

Of course, some of the older and stodgier among us—unnerved by all this abiding goodwill—might complain that we’re lowering the bar such that our holiday might rather be named Breathing Human Day. A reasonable proposition, to be sure, but one that could offend some of the non-breathers (i.e., dead folks) among us—thus it seems best to leave things as they are.

In all seriousness, it is a good idea to celebrate our support staff. But frankly, we shouldn’t need a calendar or lobby group to remind us of it. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and reminded them:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28).

So in the end we find, surprisingly, that Administrative Professionals Day leads us back to those old favorites, Passover and Easter, after all. 

Jeff Koch
Jeff Koch

Jeff is a mortgage lender and graduate of the World Journalism Institute's Mid-Career Course. He lives with his wife and their eight children in the Chicago area.

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