I knew it was coming. I knew online school would lead to the end of the snow day. New York schools have no announced that there will be no snow days. Snow days will now be remote learning days. I assume other school systems will do the same. I’ve written multiple times about snow days and why they were important to me. The main reason I loved a snow day was that it gave me permission to rest. No work, No school. Time to relax and watch the snow coverage on TV and drink coffee until the kids woke up and wanted to play in the snow. Now everyone does remote work instead. There is no time off because we hate the idea of rest.
Thee was an editorial in the Washington Post recently about how people were looking forward to getting their vaccine because the side effects would give them the opportunity to take time off. People are looking forward to a shot’s side effects so they can rest. That is really messed up. It’s not surprising, though. Americans have trouble with rest. We don’t use our vacation time we have earned. We don’t take sick days when we need them. The concept of taking a mental health day seems wrong. Whenever I took a sick day at my old job my boss made sure to bring it up a lot so that I knew that she remembered the time I was a slacker. When I would take a long vacation she would be sure to bring it up in front of her boss to try to make me look bad for not working constantly. She would brag about never taking a vacation. It was a lie, but she thought the idea that she didn’t use her earned vacation made her look good. I feel like this attitude is prevalent in America,
Even outside of work we seem to be unable to rest. We fill our kids off school hours with scheduled activities. We don’t give them time to just have unstructured fun. We fill our off hours with to-do lists and errands. There is always something that needs to be done and if you don’t do it you are lazy and wasting time. When I left my job one of the things my wife was concerned about was me spending too much time “doing nothing” and I guess being depressed because I wasn’t busy enough. We are so ingrained with the idea that rest is bad that some people struggle with retirement because they can’t handle not being busy all the time. I struggle with it now that I have a lot of hours to fill. but I struggle more with being afraid people are judging me than with the actual resting part. I feel guilty when I spend time reading my book during the day. We just aren’t programmed to rest in this country.
It needs to stop. Let the kids keep their snow days. Stop advocating for year round school. Let the kids keep their lazy summer days. Stop scheduling every off school hour. Encourage unstructured time. Use your vacation time for actual vacations not to make appointments during work hours. Go on trips. Spend time at home not doing chores. Take time off from everything. We don’t need to fill every hour of our days with stuff. We need to learn to give ourselves permission to rest.