Sections

VIEWPOINT: Taking time off

Viewpoint with Deacon Howard Gotell

Published on August 25, 2017

I watched an interview a couple of weeks ago with a lady who wrote a book about the benefits of taking time off and the benefits of the weekend.

The workplace today, especially in major urban centres, thrives on people working on what seems to a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week cycle. Employees who work part time or contract work often require two or three jobs to make ends meet.
Technology today means that workers are constantly on call, either tied to emails or their smartphone. Many live with the knowledge that they can be called into work at any moment. The luxury of two days – a weekend – to relax or have quality family time together seems a distant reality.
A fascinating point of the interview was a discussion about the history of how the weekend came to be. Yes, the unions fought during the Industrial Revolution for just work hours for employees, and in some cases, lives were lost fighting for the cause.
However, the point was also made that major religions of the work seek a “day of rest.” The Islamic tradition has Friday prayers, the Jewish faith celebrates the Sabbath on Saturday while Christianity celebrates Sabbath on Sunday.
Genesis speaks of God looking over His creation. He says, “It is good” and on the seventh day he rests.
Whether we are religious or not, I feel we all need time for rest and to spend time away from the job. Somehow humanity needs to find a way to humanize the workplace, especially when some employers take advantage of workers.
This can be in the sweatshops of far away places or in major North American centres. It’s a matter of social justice.
I met a couple once who made the choice to return to the land and live a totally simple lifestyle. It would not be my choice, but I did admire their respect and desire to protect all that God created.
They had a saying that I never forgot. It said, “Live simply so others may Simply live.” Taking time off and returning to weekends off would lead to simpler lives spent with family and one another. Historical studies also show that rested employees are alos more productive employees.