I didn’t like Sundays…

As a child I was forced to go to church on Sunday. So empty and repetitive was the ritual that I would borrow my dad’s watch and just watch the second hand going round. That was more interesting than the melancholic chanting of the same old script time after time.

I suppose I was too young at the time to make the obvious intellectual challenge to my parents: if they were taking me to church because of their faith in its value to me, how come they were willing to collude in my spiritual absence by letting me stare at the second hand of a goddam watch?

In the absence of intellect, I resorted to stubbornness. One Sunday morning, at age 11, I simply locked myself in the bathroom and refused to come out. To my parents’ credit, they caved in and that was the end of chuchgoing for me.

It was only many years later that my mother admitted explicitly that she didn’t believe in god. I still feel a mixture of shock and sadness as I reflect on that.

Even after my successful revolt, Sundays were always miserable days. Probably for two reasons: school was looming the next day and that meant homework. And the Sunday trading laws of the time seemed to impose a total deadness on the world around me. I nearly always got headaches on Sundays; and little wonder.

Now Sundays are cool, but I’d quite like to invent the term Sunday Syndrome to stand for the oppressive impact of pious regulation which takes the place of genuine faith and spontaneity. I see plenty of that in “best practices” and quite a lot in many prescriptions for how to be successful in life.

And thanks to Dave Snowden for reminding me of yet another classic Python clip, to be added to the Python School of Management in that parallel universe. Further evidence that we’re rationalising, not rational, beings….

2 thoughts on “I didn’t like Sundays…

  1. Graham Hill

    Johnnie

    I too was forced to go to Church on Sunday. And to Sunday School afterwards too. I made my teachers’ lives miserable at Sunday School by asking lots of obvious questions to which they only had somewhat mystical non-answers. I didn’t do it on purpose. I just wanted to know the answers to the many questions every child has at that age. But they didn’t have any answers and they resented being challenged intellectually by a 12 year old! It was one of my 13th birthday presents not to have to go back to Church. What joy! Sunday could be spend on the family farm doing the things that makes growing up in the countryside the stuff of fable. I am sure that I wasn’t missed at Sunday School.

    I think Church and Sunday School was seen at that time as part of the ‘proper way’ to bring up children. To inculcate them into the non-thinking rituals that much of civic life requires to be successful by not being seen. Much of middle-management in companies gets on by doing exactly the same thing. Or rather by not doing anything different.

    But I wasn’t having any of it and I still am not today. And that applies just as much to my work as a management consultant.

    “Reasonable men adapt themselves to their environment; unreasonable men try to adapt their environment to themselves. Thus all progress is the result of the efforts of unreasonable men. “

    George Bernard Shaw.

    Graham Hill

    Independent CRM Consultant

    Interim CRM Manager

    Reply

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