Part of my role as educational psychologist involves meeting with teachers and parents at the start of the New Year to discuss current concerns and develop interim action plans to transition our young person back to the “Monday to Friday”.
We usually kick off with colourful stories involving trips to the beach and visits to grandma; the long summer evenings and a feeling of freedom. The freedom of lingering on the beach until the evening breeze gently pushes you towards home.
That extended “Friday to Monday” feeling that allows you the bike rides; tramping across hills and streams; coffee dates with your soulmate and picnics in the park with your children.
Then we reluctantly start building the pathway back to school bells; timetables; homework; projects; school trips; changing routines and loss of freedom…
Four walls and a small window; putting aside the things you really want to do, because that list (written by your hand but somebody else’s demand); is ever longer by the minute. You get up and go, move through corridors; smile at strangers and meet deadlines. Till at the end of your “Monday to Friday” you feel numb.
How does it happen that we start a new year with so much energy and enthusiasm but run into empty so quickly? We lock up our offices at the end of every year, exhausted, sick of our jobs and really not particularly fond of any of our colleagues anymore. Just to do it all over again next year. Sounds a bit dull to me!
First steps into tomorrow
So here we are, taking first steps into tomorrow; with January rolling into February before we knew it. “Time to review those initial action plans, already?” And that nagging feeling of lost freedom, four walls, Monday to Friday squeeze.
Coffee date with daughter, on a weekday, after scanning diary not to miss a meeting. Taking long strides not to be late, already back into the fast pace of Monday to Friday. Laughs, a million different conversations in five minutes and a long lingering aroma of coffee; and there it was: that Friday- to- Monday- freedom- feeling. Recharged and full of joy.
Walking back to my car, I had a sudden thought: “I think I have stumbled upon a nugget! We can bring “Friday to Monday” forward! We can fill the “every -day- lull” with soul-food.” We do not have to wait for time to run out and a siren to announce the end of the work week.
We do not even have to wait for the calendar to run out of pictures of landscapes. Imagine if we had a” Friday to Monday” feeling every day!
Oh, this got me thinking about all the things on my list that put a smile in my heart. What if I could have a little bit of a lot before sunset every day? Is this even possible with so many things that need to be done? I could start with adding “time with self” during lunchtime perhaps; and then “walk on the beach with dogs” after dinner tomorrow. I can feel the freedom of “Friday to Monday” already rising in my soul!
Then there is barbeque with our group of close friends, feeding the wild birds in the morning and watching the garden come alive. Planting a new seedling amongst the evergreens and watching as it settles into colour. Being still and waiting for ABBA to whisper. Cooking dinner to the sound of a passionate worship song from youngest, as her fingers dance across the piano.
Perhaps if we frequently lavished our souls with “Friday to Monday” treats we will not run out of kindness to give; patience to listen and love to hold.
These treats, for me, usually involve activities with the people I love and being loved by them. Hearing words of encouragement and having fun together.
So off we went on a glorious Sunday morning in Christchurch with our bibles in hand to spend a couple of hours doing Café-church. Two daughters and a mum: taking time for a Friday-to-Monday-treat. We read Hebrews 10 and I discovered this verse again:
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as in the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews chapter 10, verse 24)
I discovered that one of the most important Friday -to -Monday-treats for me, is to “stir up love and good works”. I am encouraged to purposefully bring “Friday to Monday” forward by encouraging the people I encounter every day: 365 treats per year, at least, Who needs a holiday then?
Linda Swart is a Press Service International New Zealand Senior Writer from Christchurch.