Here An Hour, There An Hour

Spring forward. Fall back. I don’t get it. I’ve never really understood why we observe Daylight Saving Time, but like almost everybody else in the world, I’ve observed it every year. This fall (when I changed all the clocks in the house – again) I decided to do some research to find out where this tradition started and why.

Seems that one of our American founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, had the idea originally. He wanted to make good use of all of the daylight hours he was given. But he didn’t know of a way to accomplish that except to adjust his waking and sleeping times related to the changing lengths of each day. He would reset his alarm a few minutes earlier ever so often as the days got longer. He realized that in mid-summer he could work 12 hours a day without lighting an oil lamp. But even Ben Franklin wasn’t advocating that we manipulate our clocks to suit our lifestyles. He was just taking advantage of what was already there- more daylight in the spring and summer.

In World War I, the Germans wanted to save fuel and they adopted the time change idea. By 1918 America liked the idea, too, and we adopted the time change but made it optional to each state. During World War II, daylight saving time was mandatory to all states for fuel conservation. However, after the war the government went back to the original idea of a fall back, spring forward approach and made it optional again for states. Arizona and Hawaii opted out.

There are TV shows and movies galore built around the theme of time travel; going back or going forward to somehow manipulate events. There’s always a portal, too, through which someone can walk into another era. I don’t like those kinds of shows. To me they suggest that Man can take control over something that God has already metered out.

Dennis’ late grandfather, Joel Dixon, who was a farmer all of his life, refused to change his clocks during Daylight Saving Time. He disdained that “fast time” and he just refused to observe it. He reasoned, “The good Lord has given the daylight hours he wants us to have every day and we don’t need to mess with that.”

I understand the idea of saving fuel and energy any way we can, but I agree with Grandpa. Daylight and darkness are doled out to us exactly how God sees fit. Why mess with His Plan?

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