Saturday, July 26, 2008

In Praise of Sabbaticals

Brian Jones, writer of Second Guessing God (one of my all time favorite books on the "individual faith journey") and also one of my favorite bloggers) is taking a bit of a sabbatical from his blog. Although I was sad to read this, I certainly understand and respect his motivations. I dropped him a little note to wish him well during his "rejuvenation" time.

It got me to thinking about sabbaticals.

We Americans don't really value sabbaticals, do we? (Other than those who work in the world of academia....) As a culture, we tend to just go-go-go... bigger, better, faster, more-more-more. Never stop, never come up for air, and God help you if you take a full week off for vacation and don't check email and voicemail every day.

Call me nuts, but I don't think that's the way God intends us humans to live. I really think he wired us to enjoy our lives, enjoy our surroundings, take time to interact with HIM and with one another, on an "un-shallow" level.

I wonder how we can get our culture to change this, and recognize the value of time off, for a mentally healthy (and emotionally re-charged) population?



Sugar said...

I'm a HUGE fan of sabbaticals! Right before I turned thirty, I quit my "high power" job (haha) to figure out what I was really going to do with my life. It's been an eight year long journey and I'm glad I did it, but the first year, when I'd run into former colleagues and I'd answer their what-are-you-doing-nows with "I'm on sabbatical," I got the exact response you would think I'd get. A quizzical look. It took a long time to finally just start telling people that I was now a Princess. That was a lot more fun.

Deron Arnold said...

I agree. It would be nice to have some time to slow down...slow way down.
The problem, at least where I work, and I'm guessing at many other businesses, is that when one leaves for that long, it gives everyone else a LOT more work...especially in a small business.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that the truth!

Our society has been so caught up in materialistic things (among others!).

This in return has taken away from the *important* things in life such as appreciating friends and fanily and learning from one another.

This is just one reason why I am trying to SIMPLIFY my life (and my family's!).

Good post HWHL!

karengberger said...

I think when the PC came along, it made many things easier, and many other things of the bad effects was increase in the SPEED of life. I also agree with you; if you look at God's creation, it works in cycles. The seasons, for example. I think letting fields lie fallow used to be the way, before chemical fertilizers were available. So we are manipulating nature to fit our schedule, and we are all paying the price. You are right, and I am glad that you posted about it. Thank you!

Boquinha said...

Based on this and so many other posts of yours, you would love, love, LOVE the book "Take Back Your Time" -- I cannot recommend it highly enough. It speaks, too, of sabbaticals. Love it!

dons_mind said...

ya know, i can't say that i've ever taken a "sabbatical" per se. i know of some other folks who have - a neighbor back in maryland was fortunate enough to have one each year as part of his job - i think it was 30 days at a time. he used the time to spend with his family - fishing, trips to the shore, good stuff!

i do agree that we as a country put far tooo much emphasis on our jobs. would that we could devote that time to our family lives. i'd like to think it would do a lot to stave up the american family...

Elizabeth Pagano said...

I love that you bring up the cultural aspect of sabbaticals - why they're not more common in our working world. Indeed they are common in academia and with those who serve a church. And, fortunately, they're becoming more common in industry. Businesses are recognizing that sabbaticals help attract, retain, and recharge top talent. Companies like McDonald's, Intel, and General Mills offer them. For a complete list of companies with sabbatical programs, see "Companies on a Quest" at We're working to make sabbaticals a part of every career ladder!