This Fall -- Take Four Windows Of Time
To celebrate Take Back Your Time Day, the Take Back Your Time movement is inviting people all across America to "Take Four Windows of Time." Anyone can take part -- as an individual, a family, or with friends -- and the program can also be sponsored by any organization, such as a school, a community group, a religious congregation, a union, a workplace, etc.
You can participate in three ways:
TAKE FOUR WINDOWS OF TIME….
……Imagine if you or your family took, for example, four Wednesday nights off (or any other four times) from long hours of work or scheduled activities. What would you do instead?……..
…….wander in the woods * make music * play charades or board games * tell jokes * laugh * share a personal thought or feeling with a loved one..* celebrate your spiritual tradition * take a long, relaxing bath * ask an older person about his or her life * read poetry aloud * observe the beauty around you * knit * reconnect with an old friend * slow down and breathe deeply * plant trees * cook slow food * have a picnic * listen carefully to children's ideas * write in your journal * sleep * reflect on the balance of labor, leisure, and consumption in your life…….
The "Four Windows of Time" concept was originally developed as a pilot project by the Massachusetts Take Back Your Time Committee in collaboration with the Massachusetts Council of Churches. (For more information about the pilot project, see below.) We invite everyone, of any background all across America, to take your own Four Windows of Time!
Take Four Windows Of Time
Massachusetts 2004 Pilot ProjectBy Barbara Brandt, Massachusetts Time Day Committee
"Take Four Windows of Time" is an initiative that many people and organizations in Massachusetts (and beyond) are participating in, inspired by Take Back Your Time Day. (For a more detailed report on participation by churches in Massachusetts, see Four Windows Of Time Report -- PDF File.)
The concept of Take Four Windows of Time is that between Labor Day (which falls in early September) and Take Back Your Time Day (Oct. 24), participants will select four "windows" or periods of time for slow, quiet, reflective, life-renewing activities. During these four "windows" of time, which might be, for example, four Wednesday evenings, or four weekend mornings, or any four time periods appropriate to one's schedule, participants as individuals or with their families or loved ones might engage in activities such as taking a walk in the woods, playing games, eating a meal and talking together, or perhaps just sleeping! Since resisting excessive work hours and an overscheduled lifestyle is not purely a personal choice, participants are also invited to reflect on public policy initiatives which can promote more time for all.
The Four Windows of Time initiative was developed cooperatively by the Massachusetts Take Back Your Time Committee and the Massachusetts Council of Churches (MCC). The MCC, which is a fellowship of 1,700 Protestant and Orthodox churches throughout Massachusetts, is committed to justice in labor and leisure, upholding family values, and promoting Sabbath observance. After hearing about the first annual Take Back Your Time Day in 2003 and looking at the Timeday website and Take Back Your Time Handbook, MCC staff felt that the TBYT movement would be an excellent partner to help them promote the above goals. MCC contacted local Timeday activists, we expressed our great delight at a potential collaboration, and as the result of several brainstorming sessions, together we developed the idea of "Take Four Windows of Time." In addition to the personal experience of voluntarily taking back one's time four times, participants are also encouraged to learn more about legislative and institutional change initiatives (such as the national Timeday 4-point legislative agenda) which might allow everyone to have more time.
Once we had the concept, MCC and the Mass. Timeday Committee reached out not only to our own members, but also to other Massachusetts organizations, to encourage their participation. Additional partnering organizations include the Massachusetts AFL-CIO (which is sponsoring state legislation for paid family leave); the National Association of Social Workers-Mass. Chapter; the Barnstable County (Cape Cod) Dept. of Human Services Working Group on Time (which has their own exciting project that we hope you'll be hearing more about); the Ecopsychology Institute; the Boston Theological Institute (a consortium of 9 theology schools); and many individual churches, synagogues, and others participants.
MCC and the Mass.TBYT Committee are also using the media to get even more publicity and public attention for this project. On Saturday, Sept. 4, 2004, the Boston Herald ran an Op.Ed. about the work-time issue, co-authored by Rev. Diane Kessler, Executive Director of the MCC and Robert Haynes, President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. On Monday, Sept. 6, 2004 (Labor Day), the Boston Globe Living Section ran a major feature story about Take Four Windows of Time as a statewide project supported by diverse religious denominations. We are continuing our media push, and expect to have follow-up stories in the media after Take Back Your Time Day.
Both the Mass.TBYT Committee and the MCC have created handouts and resource materials for Take Four Windows of Time, all of them beautifully designed by professional graphic designers, which we invite anyone interested to use or adapt. You can download a project flyer suitable for the general public by clicking the links below:
The Massachusetts Council of Churches has developed a large array of materials, some of which are specifically designed for churches, others (such as their handouts on "Social Justice" and "Additional Resources') which are suitable for the general public. You can see and freely download any of the Mass. Council materials from their website, www.masscouncilofchurches.org.
The Take Four Windows of Time project has evoked great interest and excitement throughout Massachusetts. After Oct. 24, 2004, we will send a follow-up article to national Take Back Your Time, describing how people participated in and felt about Take Four Windows of Time.
We hope that next year and in the years to come, "Take Four Windows of Time" might become a national component of the Take Back Your Time movement.
If you want more information about this project, please contact Barbara Brandt at 617-628-5558 or email@example.com.
I would like to conclude by honoring and thanking the wonderful contributions of the Mass. Council of Churches staff -- Rev. Dr. Diane Kessler, Eden Grace, Louise Frehill, and Rev. Jill Wiley; Mass. Take Back Your Time Committee members Laurie Sheridan, Sean Leclaire, Prof. Peggy Hothem, and Prof. Julie Matthaei; the skilled graphic designers Janet Theurer and Tom Briggs of Theurer Briggs Design; and the many other people who have helped us create and spread the word about the Take Back Your Time/Take Four Windows of Time project.
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