I have been thinking lately that as we are now experiencing some warmer days, some longer days courtesy of Daylight Savings Time, perhaps having a chance to get outside a bit more, attend some kids sporting events and maybe even play some golf, that maybe we should kick back for a moment and talk about the subject of Leisure.
If we do just a tiny bit of research we’d soon discover that the term “Leisure”, or “Free Time” really denotes time spent away from our normal business, work and domestic chores. And it will also exclude time spent on such necessary activities that we all must attend to such as eating, sleeping and the like. And looking a little bit further into the subject, we find that there is not a rigidly defined distinction between leisure and unavoidable activities. For example, some people may do work-oriented tasks for pleasure as well as for long-term fulfillment. Some may also want to make a distinction between “Free Time” and “Leisure”. Some of our leisure activities may actually be constrained by social pressures. Consider for a moment the difference between someone who simply enjoys gardening to the person who may be coerced into spending time in the garden by the need to keep up with the neighborhood standards.
While developing my own perspective on leisure, I ran across some work that was begun by a gentleman by the name of Robert A. Stebbins during the 1970’s that deals with the concept of “Serious Leisure Perspective” or SLP. Some of Mr. Stebbins’ work identified three main forms of leisure, known as SERIOUS LEISURE, CASUAL LEISURE and PROJECT BASED LEISURE. Until I began to examine a bit more thoroughly this concept of “Leisure” I tended to think of leisure as just time when one wasn’t at work … but, as usual, as I got more into it, I found that the subject could be very much more complex than we might think. And I came across the below diagram, prepared by Jenna Hartel and based on the work of Mr. Stebbins (source: The Serious Leisure Perspective Website,www.seriousleisure.net) which presents a much more broad picture of this concept of leisure. Perhaps if you take just a moment to scan through the diagram you may discover some ideas about leisure that you had not considered previously.
Now, I submit that if you are reading through this Pop’s Perspective for the month of May, you are using some degree of your leisure time. What I would like to leave you with is a poem, written by William Henry Davies, entitled “Leisure”. And from “Pop’s Perspective”, I think that Mr. Davies’ poem might be suggesting to us that because we may experience so many worries and tensions in our lives and we have made ourselves so complicated that we tend not to take the time to appreciate simple things of nature made by God, and that we may have made our surroundings so complicated that there is simply no time to spare. Perhaps our days so are filled by technical pleasures that we forget to appreciate the natural pleasures. And just perhaps we should consider, at least from time to time, thinking of becoming a bit less dependent on machines and technology in our lives and try to make time to appreciate and involve natural things to surround our lives. And maybe, just maybe, we could all consider the importance of freeing our minds from the day-to-day clutter that we find, pause in life and become a bit more observant of what we are doing with our lives. Maybe make some time to be quiet, rest, contemplate how we are doing, our goals and our treatment of others. Maybe, indeed, we need to make time to “stop and stare”!
Thanks for reading and look for another of Pops Perspective next month. Here is Mr. Davies’ poem that I leave you with:
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
William Henry Davies