Taking time off. By Dr Elsa L. Joel
The things that occupy parents’ whole being during weekends are laundry, vacuuming/ dusting/cleaning, grocery, salon, homework and assignments, and indulging in socialising for the sake of an update on some social media. And after all these, everybody gets glued to their respective gadgets. In this age of digital revolution, even an outing to a scenic place doesn’t serve any purpose because we get busy recording events and clicking pictures instead of making up for lost times or soaking in the beauty that creation as such offers. There is no longer a time, even during those two special days, when parents and children enjoy just being together enjoying each other’s company over a heart to heart chat.
What is supposed to be an innate weekend trait should never be dominated by imposition. We are pretty vague about how weekends could turn out exciting in a city with overflowing landfills and bins, reducing green cover, demolition rubble and traffic jams, because road rules in Indian cities have a different meaning from the rest of the world and increasing pollution that we would prefer to stay indoors with our gadgets than venture out. Other than good education, life in a city has nothing much to offer except a few happening places here and there. Ever since the age of the idiot box dawned on us, small wonder our moods and priorities swing like a pendulum between total sensitivity and hypersensitivity.
I remember, when we were kids, people, real humans, dominated our lives. And weekends meant fellowship and house visiting in addition to long walks. Walking the talk, to be precise. So many ideas and values were instilled in us as we listened to elders talk among themselves and to us. The long leisure weekend culture taught us family history, traditions and facts of life. The good deed of house visiting is forgotten or dead these days for reasons aplenty. One important reason being, people who manage to get their vehicle out of their street, get car-lagged before reaching the destination.
Keep the mind open
No denying that we all dig into very lengthy, and very honest, discussions and deliberations about how to make our family weekends better and meaningful. Just as novelists facilely build up a story from raw ideas that hit their receptive minds, we shall keep our minds open for good old and new ideas to spend our weekends memorably. And then we shall be amazed at how effortlessly we chistle and polish our weekend ideas with motherly finesse. Just go with the stride of your thoughts keeping in mind what you and your child would enjoy. On a personal note, I would suggest that we just sit with our family, if they are available for us, and converse as if there is no tomorrow. This will refresh the mind and will also help in staying connected with our family keeping us updated on each others’ daily life. Let it not be an overdose for it is difficult to locate people using a GPS.
Do we, as parents know our children’s secret thoughts, fears and passions? Have we ever spared a weekend to really indulge in their interests and crazy ideas? Let us ask ourselves a few honest questions about ‘last times’.
When was the last weekend;
We sat with our children to listen to them, hear their stories for the second time and answer the same question that was posed week back with different yet convincing, helpful answers.
We danced or sang out loud with them.
We invited their friends wholeheartedly over for high tea.
We tried a new craft together without really minding the room getting messed up.
We read out a story wholeheartedly with the necessary intonations.
We laced up our hiking boots and set off
Weekenders are the group of people who are known to believe that the US Fair Labour Standards Act of 1938 came into effect for their sake. Long weekend drives trace its root to early 1900s when Henry Ford began to give his factory workers a two-day weekend because he wanted to sell the cars he made to a few workers who were his best customers. Who would buy cars if they don’t have the time to go on drives and enjoy them? Own a car or otherwise, if there’s one thing there is no shortage of on weekends, its possibilities, ever-stretching ones! Parents who possess virtues like patience and perseverance and can perform daring manoeuvres on Indian roads, which are well laid for test drives, can escape the hustle-bustle of over populated and polluted cities to nearby offbeat destinations for some pure air, water and uninterrupted family time. Long drives on our roads might also prepare our bodies for a desert safari in future.
Everything has a time
Weekend time is never overrated for they may not remain the same as time flies. Everything has a time. A time to explore, to plunge head-long into happy changes and to come to terms with transitions. A year or decade later, weekends might not whip up as much frenzy as it would when we have the time and will.
Happy weekend to us all in case our house utilities aren’t conspiring against us.