Work-life balance is important. We hear this term used frequently. So, if you think about it, with weekends being the only time that people have to rest, relax and spend quality time with family and friends, why not institute Family Sunday in Canada?
Although the rules about working, or not working, on Sundays vary throughout the world and are nuanced in Canada[i], no-Sunday work is set to become law in Poland by 2020[ii] and Pope Francis stated that working on Sunday is nefarious.[iii]
Even if we were to dismiss a divinely ordained sabbath or day of rest, common sense as to why the notion of having one day of rest per week would be valuable speaks volumes. Give people the chance to rest—to connect with themselves, their loved ones and friends—and the world will be a better place for it.
12 reasons in favor of Family Sunday
1. People aren’t robots. We are complex creatures with needs that include rest, relaxation, meditation, sleep, fellowship with those closest to us, and time with ourselves.
2. Restoration. We spend five days (or six if you count work taken home) satisfying our employer. If we are given one day for ourselves, we would be able to “recharge our batteries,” a win-win scenario for employees and bosses.
3. Life is short. Life is too short to literally “work ourselves to death.” Surely there are aspects about our beautiful planet—nature, our loved ones, natural wonders, weekend trips, and mystical experiences that happen when we take the time to dream or worship—that require our attention and make us better people once fully engaged.
4. A new productivity. The 1950s’ mechanistic definition of what constitutes productivity either is or should be hopelessly archaic. If you haven’t noticed, there are new technologies (e.g., automation and the coming ubiquitous Internet[iv]) that are already making life easier than ever before and rendering human labor obsolete in various spheres.
5. An ethical choice. According to Pope Francis, working on Sundays reflects negatively on the family as well as friendships.[v] To spend time with one’s family is an “ethical choice,” according to this pope.[vi]
6. Transformed thinking. To understand that the way that new media; virtually instant communication styles; interconnectivity; and heightened awareness are changing the way people on our planet relate to each other is to understand that “taking one’s rest” or “attaining stillness” are imperative to a healthy and wholesome community.
7. Little “hoods.” Unlike the United States, where I grew up, Canada—where I was born—is not a “melting pot.” In Toronto, for example, where I live, there is Little Italy, Greek Town, China Town and so on. There is no expectation that people will melt like “butter” and become “one.” It is permitted, acceptable and even expected for people of various ethnic groups to live in close proximity to and “hang out” with each other because, in the end and after a while, as a friend of mine aptly said, “We are all Canadian.”
8. One day for a diverse yet united people. Holidays are nice but a repeated weekly “holiday” called Family Sunday will make us all more harmonious, content, balanced, happy, creative, fulfilled and productive. The extra time may even result in population growth.
9. Family Sunday comes after Saturday. When Saturday comes in Toronto, I feel the stillness in the streets below. Even if I walk to the 24/7 grocery store, I experience the emptiness of the streets. People are home, resting. This is very good; and it will be even better when these two days, Saturday and Sunday, back-to-back, are entirely free from the uncivilized and unnecessary stressors that come from an ethos of non-rest.
10. It makes for a great hashtag. Yes, #familysunday. If you like the idea of Family Sunday, go ahead, tweet your heart out.
11. It’s generous. Time is a precious commodity. Time is of the essence. To be able to use time as one desires provides: autonomy, a sense of “personal sovereignty,” independence, and dignity. Time and its individually-determined uses are determinants of our collective future course, as Canadians first and citizens of the world second.
12. It’s good for business. Although I spoke of rest, family time, and time with friends, Family Sunday will also be good for business. That’s because, after quiet time for some, and worship for others, people will also have time to shop. In this essay, I do not argue for a ban on work on Sundays. I argue instead for family time. I argue for a work-life balance in deed and not just words. Those who own stores and wish to work on Sundays should always be able to. People who wish to work on Sundays have and ought always to have this right. But for those who do not wish to work, for those who would rather relish from time to themselves including shopping that they are otherwise unable to do during the week, Family Sunday will afford this.
[i] Ontario, Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act, “Retail Workers,” https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act/retail-workers, accessed on 29 November, 2017.
[ii] Catholic Herald, Poland to phase out Sunday Shopping by 2020, http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/11/25, accessed on 29 November, 2017.
[iii] BNews, Pope announces: Don’t work on Sundays, it’s nefarious!, BNews.bg, Sunday, 06 July, 2014.
[iv] See my blogpost, The Zero-Sum Game, https://atomic-temporary-55044701.wpcomstaging.com/tag/kaku/.