My local school system schedules their annual Spring Break for the week following Easter. This year Easter happened to fall about as late on the calendar as possible so for some it felt like the break would never arrive. I heard one teacher describe it as a rumble; she said the entire school was rumbling. Everyone was ready for Spring Break to arrive – at least most everyone. Some kids love being with their friends and will miss them during the break. Some parents are busy and their schedules coupled with limited help to care for the kids require them to rely on the school to help with the daily care of their children. These exceptions aside, the overwhelming majority of people are ready for Spring Break.
The question is why is Spring Break needed? Summer break is just a few weeks away. Why not just push through? It is not just on the calendar so teachers can get a break or stretch the school year. There are several reasons why it is important. Some of these reasons can be applied to any situation where breaks are needed. Maybe one of these will give you some better understanding.
Your Kids Need a Break
I know you cannot imagine that your kids need a break. I hear parents tell their children “wait until you get in the real world and don’t get summers off”. The truth is some professions do get the summers off. Some even longer periods than that. The reason is that everyone needs a break. The constant routine of doing the same thing over again can cause us to stop growing and learning. This is true for adults and children. Taking regular breaks refreshes our bodies and our minds to receive things that we may otherwise overlook. It is not always about rest. Usually, it is more about routine. I know how much more aware I am when my routine is changed and how many other problems I can solve in my regular environment after I have been taken away from it. The children need those same kinds of breaks so school continues to be about growth and does not become a rut.
Your Kids Need You
Don’t allow Spring Break to turn into a week of frustration with what you are going to do with your children while they are out of school. Some parents will even complain out loud about how they feel it is a burden to have the children out of school. Some parents are intentional to take a vacation during this week and go away with their children. Some parents are just not able to do that. You should not feel bad if you cannot make those arrangements, but you should be even more intentional about spending the time you do have with your children. You have the ability to make the greatest impact on your child’s life. Don’t allow the normal post-school routine to continue during that week. Change it up a little bit and spend as much quality time with them as you can. You may not see the immediate results, but I can assure you that you are having a lasting impact.
Someone Else Needs A Break
When you go on vacation it is not just you that is getting a break, it includes all the other people who have to deal with you on a daily basis as well. I say that with as much gentleness as I can, knowing that we all want to feel needed. But the truth is our relationships at work are better because we took a break and they had a break from us. At Spring Break, it is not only the teachers who are getting a reprieve. I am sure the teachers come back rejuvenated and with a fresh perspective for their students. But sometimes the students need a break from the teacher and from one another. These are not the only people involved in a school though. The custodians, secretaries, administrators, bus drivers, and others all need some time away as well. Having a break gives them renewed focus and patience to do their jobs well. When their jobs are done well, your child has a much better environment in which to learn and grow. Don’t be selfish and believe that a break is just for you. There are many other people who benefit and those benefits spread.
So if you are in the middle of your Spring Break with children, make sure you appreciate the time and work to be intentional about it. If yours has already passed, take these words to heart for the summer. A life lived intentionally will benefit everyone around you.