Have you ever been at an airport and could not help but overhear the phone conversation next to you? The Rev. Daniel Heischman, who is the Director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, overheard a phone conversation recently, from a hiring manager to a prospective employee. When it came time to discuss benefits, the manager said, “You will start with twenty-one vacation days,” and then added, “Of course there is no such thing as vacation any more.”
A recent commercial for a cruise line showed a family on vacation. The previous vacation, viewers learned, the dad had spent the entire time working on his computer and looked rather dour as a result. But this cruise line had fast Wi-Fi so dad was happy and, in one picture, was actually dancing.
Is this what we’ve come to – advertising vacations where you can get your work done faster so you can spend a little time with your family and managers telling new employees that “there is no such thing as vacation any more.”
Our school and other schools in this area are going on summer vacation. Ethan has a list of things Saint John’s School requires while on summer vacation – reading and memorizing states and capital cities. There is solid evidence to show that children who engage in reading and other brain-stimulating activities during the summer excel when school resumes in the fall compared to kids who only play video games and watch Sponge Bob Square Pants. But what about true vacation.
I think it comes down to priorities. Summer reading lists are accomplished during non-family times. Ethan will study his states and capital but he won’t stay up late doing it. In fact, there will be very little sacrifice of time on his part to accomplish his summer learning program.
Scripture shows us priorities regarding rest and vacation. Jesus had the most important and most demanding job in the history of the world. Yet, he found time to get away, unplug and rest. Scripture shows us that although God had the most intense engineering project ever conceived by creating everything, God rested once the work was complete. It appears that God makes vacation a priority.
I hope that as I take vacation time this summer and that as you take vacation time that we will follow Scripture and prove a particular hiring manager wrong, that there is such a thing as a true vacation.
- Fr. Marshall