Why We Need a Stop Day
An inspiring interview about why we all need to take a sabbath each week.
It is very easy to get into that and have that define you. Resting one day a week not only becomes this lovely time, but frankly I could not live without it. I could not fathom life now without that rhythm of work and rest. To the rest, work gives more meaning, and the work tires you so you need to rest. Jumping off of that hamster wheel, we get to think about the big questions. I think we also get a heart that is more appreciative. The satisfied person is not the person who has everything they want. It is the person who wants less. Simply pausing from commerce gives us a chance to appreciate what we have.
GT: Here is the question I have been dying to ask you after finishing your book. When your child is invited to a birthday party on a Sunday morning, or has soccer practice scheduled for a Sunday afternoon, how would you recommend responding to the birthday party invitation or the coach? How should you explain your decision to your child?
MS: Both my son and daughter began to practice a stop day with us ten years or so ago. They were both in junior high/high school at that age. There were many pressures on them for activities and for school. They went to an extraordinarily competitive high school. There were always Monday deadlines for academics and for tests. They chose to get their work done ahead of time and to refrain from those activities one day a week. It was an experiment. How was that going to turn out? The experiment is done. My son graduated valedictorian of his high school, valedictorian of college, and first in his medical school class, keeping a Sabbath the whole way through.
MS: My daughter did not graduate from high school. She got into college early and graduated with two degrees, and valedictorian at age 19 from college. Their experience is that you can do this. What happens is that you begin to stand for something. It builds character. Most of us do not know what is coming down the pike. We do not know what technologies will be here in six months less, much less six years. But my children know that one day a week, they are going to stop, period. They began to stand for things. They probably lost some friends as a result of that. But they gained some really great friends.
The birthday party is a little harder because the birthday is a celebration. I am not sure I put a birthday in the same category as soccer, or academics, or working a job for a high schooler. I think I would have some flexibility for a birthday party. Also, it depends on whether or not they serve some ice cream after the cake.
GT: You like ice cream!
MS: It is not a set of rules. I am not asking people to become rigid. One of the problems when Christ came along is that there were people who were praying, but they were not partying on the Sabbath. They had lots of piety, but they did not have the kind of inherent joy that was meant to be derived out of the day. I am afraid I would probably vote thumbs up on the birthday party.