Very few people are able to remember what they learned or did in primary school. We tend to remember only moments that had an emotional impact on our lives. One such moment for me was a school play. I cannot recall anything else of substance about this play except what was the summary or the conclusion of the matter.
A young boy in grade two was given the opportunity to end the play with the moral of the story. With this being his only line, he came to the front with great enthusiasm and shouted, “If you do not eat, you do not work.” You may have figured out that this was not correct, so did the audience. They all burst out laughing. I imagine the parents thought how ridiculous it would be if that is how the world worked. What he should have said, which should be our belief, was “if you do not work, you do not eat.” This is the principle that we, the children, were meant to take away from this.
Unfortunately, this is not our culture today. Leisure is such an important part of our life that work is seen as a secondary reason for living – something done once the eating or leisure has been concluded. “Thank God it’s Friday” or TGIF is how we hail the weekend, our opportunity to do what we assume life is meant for. Once the work is done, at 5pm we do not then strive to keep our minds engaged until the dreaded Monday morning has arrived.
Generation Z, those born after 1995, have generally grown up in a comfortable Zambia. The drive and passion that drove their parents who knew that without hard work they would be resigned to a village, dependent on the rich relative who made it out, pushed them to do great things. Many had no inheritance to speak of, were the first in their family to get to university and were one failed exam away from abject poverty. They knew that without hard work, they would not eat. Not so with the youth.
Unless we stop seeking pleasure as the goal and not as a secondary reward, we cannot expect to develop. It is true that easy times make weak men. Many of us are still young enough to get past this and work. However, a continued pursuit of leisure will only continue the creation of weak men, weak leaders, weak fathers, and in the larger scheme of things, a weak country.
There is room for rest and leisure. If you truly give of yourself to labour and the pursuit of generational wealth, your body will tell you to reset. Burnout is not the goal. Work hard enough that the next generation of Zambians will stop to look to the government as the source of all help. Work hard enough that your children will desire to imitate you. In this way, God will be gracious to bless the works of our hands that we may then eat. That we may thank Him for designating a day of rest.