So it is Family Week. What are you doing with your family this week?
If you are one of many who has to work and has young children home from school, you have likely lined up babysitters for while the youngsters are out of school and the week will carry on without much fanfare.
For those fortunate enough to have the whole week off from work duties, the week may mean family trips to places warm and sunny or trips to a nearby ski hill.
National Family Week was designated in Canada in 1985 and actually takes place the week before Thanksgiving, so this time off in February is completely separate from Alberta’s Family Day, which is a statutory holiday in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and a few other provinces. Alberta led the pack by being the first province to declare Family Day in 1990 when Premier Don Getty felt the need to set aside a special day to focus on family values.
College students in the province have long known the third week in February as Reading Week, the one-week block of time during the second semester when they can make a trip home to be with their families or work on studying for those dreaded mid-term exams and finish up those projects that can often be worth 30 percent of their final grade. Still, most are grateful for having a few days where they are not stuck in the classrooms and labs, taking tutorials and can get caught up on their assignments.
Reading Week was actually first put in place as a suicide prevention measure as statistics were indicating that it was at this time of year that the stress of cramming for exams, completing assignments, and studying late into the night, coupled with the dull winter weather was causing some post-secondary students to end their lives. Since the incorporation of Reading Week, those numbers have been significantly reduced.
Many school divisions also held teachers’ convention on the Thursday and Friday of the same week, so it has evolved over the years to set aside the entire week from classroom studies rather than have the students return for just the Tuesday and Wednesday.
So, whether people are using the week to cut through some fresh powder on the slopes with their children, taking a break from their studies, or working at a reasonable pace on class assignments, there are plenty of benefits to Family/Reading Week.
That old proverb, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ is very fitting and this time away from the daily grind can actually rejuvenate one’s mind so when they do return to their work and studies, they will be returning with a clear brain and will be more productive than if they had slogged away the entire week.