Monday marks another Family Day in Alberta, the cap to a long weekend that encourages Albertans to spend time with their families. While that is precisely what many of us will do, there are those families who will be deprived of that opportunity because they have to work. I’m not talking firefighters, police or other emergency service workers, but those workers whose job it is to man the tills and stock the shelves in retail operations throughout this province, retail operations that could be closed on a day set aside for the Albertan family, businesses that should in fact be closed on a day set aside for families.
Although shopping has become a popular singular and group activity, and although many Alberta families will spend their time pushing a shopping cart through the aisles in the name of family bonding, there is so much more to do for those who have the day off to do it.
Here in Morinville, the annual Family Day Snowman Festival is taking on a centennial theme with a wide variety of events scheduled for all ages. Cake, cupcakes and a hundred-legged race are all part of the Town’s initiative to get families to come out and enjoy their community.
The Morinville Fish and Game Club held their annual fishing derby Sunday, giving families an opportunity to bond on the ice, far from the shopping aisle and cash register, perhaps far from something they do on a regular basis.
Sturgeon County is encouraging parents and children to put down their blackberries, iPhones, iPads and Xbox paddles to disconnect from technology and reconnect with the family.
The key to all of these events is that families spend the day together as was the intent of the holiday when it was created.
And yet our insatiable desire to consume requires businesses to be open on Family Day lest their competitors get all the trade and they none. Of necessity, the opening of businesses on Family Day requires employees to work and those employees with families are deprived of an opportunity to spend time with their families on the one day this province has set aside for the family.
So for those of us in the position to have the day off to spend time with our families, let us do so. And if we must shop on Family Day, let us remember that the person serving us has given up their family time to do so. Perhaps an extra sincere smile is order or at least a heartfelt thank you.