Emmanuel College students take time out to Rest for Ruben

Mindful: Emmanuel College Year 12 students Noah Steel, Matt Hardiman and Jacob Pope plan to relax on the weekend. Picture: Amy Paton
Mindful: Emmanuel College Year 12 students Noah Steel, Matt Hardiman and Jacob Pope plan to relax on the weekend. Picture: Amy Paton

In the fast-paced world we live in, having a break from household chores, technology and life pressures sounds too good to be true.

Yet for Emmanuel College students who don’t remember a time without technology and smart phones it’s a little unnerving. 

College leaders Matt Hardiman, 18, Noah Steel, 17, and Jacob Pope, 17, have organised a rest-a-thon on June 24-25, where staff and students will put away their phones, laptops, games and not participate in housework, social media or watch TV.

People can sponsor them by donating an amount of their choice for each hour the participant consciously rests and relaxes.

Resting can include sitting, lying down, walking, reading, listening to music, meditating, yoga, strolling on the beach or watching the sunrise.

The rest-a-thon, called Rest for Ruben, is a fundraiser for The Ruben Centre in Kenya, which is managed by past Emmanuel College student Brother Frank O’Shea. 

The centre operates health, education and social development programs for the people of the Mukuru slum, which houses about 900,000 people in poor conditions. 

Matt said they wanted to make people aware of their busy lives, encourage them to “take a step back, relax the brain and to take a time out whether it’s for 15 minutes, half-an-hour, an hour or a day.”

“It’s going to be hard,” Jacob said. “I think it will be a real challenge to take a step back and try not to look at my phone or anything I’d normally do because it’s such a habit.

“It’s just something different. We’re hoping it will gain a bit of traction because it’s a different idea.

Time out: Emmanuel College Year 12 students Jacob Pope, Matt Hardiman and Noah Steel rest in the Botanic Gardens and practice mindfulness during Rest for Ruben. Picture: Amy Paton

Time out: Emmanuel College Year 12 students Jacob Pope, Matt Hardiman and Noah Steel rest in the Botanic Gardens and practice mindfulness during Rest for Ruben. Picture: Amy Paton

“It’s a good excuse to do nothing.”

Jacob said they would live like people did 50 years ago for a short time and enjoy family time and meals together without any distractions. 

“We’re going back to what people used to do instead of using our technology,” Jacob said. “We’ll take a step back to connect with our families and the environment and have time to think without having to talk to anyone else.”

Noah said it would be hard, but it was something he was looking forward to. “If there’s nothing to do it’s quite easy to pull out your phone and have a look on Facebook, it’s mostly when you’re bored, but it will be nice to step back and have a break from it all.”

They’ll also forgo jobs such unpacking the dishwasher, taking out the rubbish and mowing the lawn. 

Matt invited community members who would like to participate or donate to contact the Emmanuel College office.

The Ruben Centre, Nairobi, Kenya