Opinion

Maybe it’s time for a breather

Life is pretty demanding these days. For most families, a typical day can include a full day of work for both parents and school for the kids, followed by school-sponsored extracurricular activities, outside sports and homework.

Many families frequent drive-throughs for dinner because they don’t have the time or energy to cook dinner for themselves. While an occasional drive-through visit is OK, drive-through dining has become a way of life for some families.

In short, we are running ourselves and our children ragged. And we need to stop — or at least slow down a bit.

While it is healthy and natural to lead an active life, it is not healthy to lead a life so busy that it tears away from time the family should spend together. It is not healthy for school children of any age to burn the midnight oil to get their homework finished, get a few hours of sleep, then go back to school the next day and start the cycle over again. It is not healthy for families to spend so little time together that individual members feel like strangers who share a common house.

Something’s got to give.

The town of Ridgewood, New Jersey, has not only acknowledged that we are an overscheduled, tired society, but has done something about it.

We should learn from Ridgewood’s example.

The town decided to establish a “Ready, Set, Relax!” night. On March 26, 2002, the entire town took the night off. Through a collective effort of school officials, sports leaders, parents, teachers and religious leaders, everything was cancelled for one night so families could spend that night together.

Sounds crazy, but was it effective?

Yes.

According to readysetrelax.org, 91 percent of the town’s families participated and 89 percent of those who participated wanted to do it the following year.

The result is that Ready, Set, Relax! has become an annual event, now in its third year and the event has gone national.

We would welcome a night off here in Bremerton. Can you imagine how great it would be for family members city wide to gather around the dinner table and share in lively conversation without feeling stressed out about all the other things on their separate agendas that night?

The next day, of course, it would be back to the Harry Carey of regular life. But that one night of relaxation and family time would be a welcome, refreshing change.

For more information on Ready, Set, Relax! go to www.readysetrelax.org.

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