Saturday, November 4, 2023

Back to Standard

Yes, it's that time of year again:  we fall back in the Fall and spring forward in the Spring to accommodate the sunlight at key times in our calendar year.

From what I have read, the concept in America was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin as a way to align waking hours to daylight hours and thus conserve on candles during the summer months.  It wasn't institutionalized, though, until 1918 during World War I -- and again in World War II -- to conserve on energy during summer months.  This helped the war effort.  Finally, in 1966, the Uniform Time Act standardized DST in America.

Are you ready to standardize?
(Photo credit:  Daylight Savings Time End, Getty Images)

Every Fall and Spring a discussion -- or argument -- arises about continuing this practice.  People talk about the disruption it causes in sleep patterns, confusion with work schedules, and the fact that we are no longer an agrarian society.

A few side notes to consider:

  • A common myth is that Daylight Savings Time was created to help farmers.  In truth the farmers have been against this practice from the beginning.
  • Ancient civilizations adjusted to daylight hours more flexibly that we do now.

Like most traditions and practices there may be misunderstandings on their origins or their value in our current world.

Which raises a few questions:  What have we been taught?  What do we know for certain?  What do we assume or believe as fact?

What standards or guidelines are important to you?
(Photo credit:  World Standards Day 2019, Aristotle Metadata)

As we adjust our clocks and check our smoke detectors, maybe we could also step back and notice our reactions -- positive and negative -- to rules, regulations, guidelines, and standards.

  • Do we consider each of these restrictive or limiting?  Why?
  • Have we had bad experiences with boundaries?  When?  What happened?
  • Are we selective in which ones we follow (e.g., we use our seat belts but drive above the speed limit)?

When I was young, I heard my parents' and teachers' admonitions as unbending truths.  As I grew older and encountered situations that no longer fit these exact rules, I needed to develop critical judgment -- maybe even wisdom? -- to read a situation and decide what was best.

What creates safety for you and others?
(Photo credit:  Backyard Sandbox, This Is Why I Am Broke)

Now I see standards as starting points for our society to function and understand one another:  that is, rules and regulations serve as boundaries to keep us safe as
we play in the Sandbox of Possibilities.
If we decide to go beyond socially accepted norms:
  • Can we remain safe enough to stay alive?
  • Will we hurt anyone else?
  • How do we explain our decisions?

In essence, rules, regulations, and guidelines create predictability... in a world that sometimes is not.  Understanding the standard (how it came about; why it is in place) is as important as our need to change it.
As we fall back and spring forward, let's consider this movement of resetting ourselves... to fall back and listen before we spring forward into action.


Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding reflection about our need to maintain our inner examinations as we bump up against constraints.