A Parable of Work and Rest | Wisely Investing in the Future

If we honour a cycle of both work and rest, will we be able to compete in the modern economy? What is undoubtable is that we need times and places for both work and rest. This definition may or may not include the fabulous weekend: the 24 or 48 continuous hours of rest that fall over the weekend.

The amount of rest that we need may change due to temporary necessities–illness, pregnancy and so on–or the changing requirements of the seasons of life. The laws that once protected and prevented people from working every single hour of the day have all but disappeared in many economies. This has allowed new opportunities to be birthed for employees and the people that they serve. Work from home, working remotely and even flexible work arrangements are no longer a pipe dream, but a negotiable reality.

Is this, however, something that is ‘healthy’ for the economy? Is it wise to keep ‘the economy’ and the internet running in this way?

When we partake in online shopping, sneak in work on the weekends, watch television into the wee hours of the night; do we realise that we are, in effect, not resting? It goes without saying that our demands are creating a work opportunity that wouldn’t otherwise exist. At the same time, this is creating the requirement that someone in some part of the world has to work at odd hours of the day.

And… the biggest issue of it all is that we’re not giving our minds the opportunity to rest, to recover and to heal. It can lead to flawed decision-making, errors in judgement as well as explains why we are struggling with a new form of addiction known as tech addiction.

Another issue that creeps in when people are working 24/7 is that they’re not there to spend time with their family. Parenting children is among the most important kind of work there is in the world and it deserves and requires respect. When we have failed to be there for our children, the likelihood that they’re going to be there for us in the future also diminishes.

A good, well-nurtured and reciprocal relationship with one’s parents is undoubtedly one of the joys of life. When the parent works excessively and claims that it is on behalf of the child or expresses how burdensome it is to provide for the child, the day inevitably comes when the child may express the same.

In the past, ‘Honour thy father and mother’ was a commandment that was zealously upheld. But as instances of child abuse and general abuse of power came to light, this commandment stands on shaky ground. Many who walk this planet have been abused, mistreated and neglected by their parents. It is what has led so many cases of abandonment in old age.

Some parents can be authoritative and beyond reproach. Their lack of nurture may undermine a growing child’s changing sense of self. As this child becomes an adult, it may even interfere with the commitment they have made to their spouse. Some parents even meddle with a child’s naturally unfolding relationship with God and religion.

When ageing and dementia begins to rob parents of their memories, they may not even recall how inadequate they were as parents and the afflictions they inflicted on those around them. They may shirk, deny or negate responsibility for their actions.

To live long and do well in this world requires us to develop proper relationships of respect towards the authority figures in our lives. They are irreplaceable ingredients to success and social order. Through learning to respect and honour one’s parents, children learn the proper way to respect every other kind of relationship.

For this relationship to work, parents have the duty to be worthy of the trust, respect and obedience that they require from their offspring. Raising children is a form of work, but it absolutely cannot be viewed as a burden or a debt to repaid. No ‘workplace’, if you will, requires higher standards of trustworthiness, compassion and fair play than the environment known as ‘home’.

As St. Paul wrote, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). It is only through the grace of God that one will be able to serve adequately as a parent. Serve who, you ask: the future generation, of course.

After all, that tiny baby that you created is your future and not your past. If I were you, I’d invest in it wisely for one day that will be your return.

Noon – Rest from Work by Vincent Van Gogh

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