Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    Faith Matters - Kairos

    Article by Mr Brendan Nicholls

    Faith Matters – Kairos 

    As the first bell of the year rings out across the College our community enters into forty weeks that is set aside for growth, challenge and joy. During the holidays time was divided according to the desires of each of us individually. Once family obligations were completed true freedom of how to use one’s time began. With the end of holidays things have changed. The school day, like the working day, is separated by arbitrary segments of time that map periods of study, collaboration and social interaction. Collectively we enjoy this change and the limited ability to choose directly how our days will be spent. We do so by trusting that the decision making of the College will enable the happy pursuit of friendship, knowledge and community.

    On returning to the College the first moments are spent reconnecting and extending our friendships. The excited conversations before the first bell are a testament to the human need of community and a shared vision. Even friends who have spent much time together over the holidays come together and excitedly fill in the blanks and relate to each other their experiences during the school break. As the first bell announces the formal beginning of the school year students are animated as they find out who is in their classes and who their teachers are.

    Time is important in many ways. The breakdown of the school day from 8:50am to 3:05pm has been specifically determined to ensure that every student can travel to and from school, as set in particular by the bus schedule. In between these hours each shcool day is segmented into various lengths, which also change to the value of different gatherings according to the College’s vision. Often students spend thirty periods per week in their ‘normal’ timetabled classes. Occasionally, time is allocated to other events and experiences the College deems to override the normal timetable. All in the pursuit of growth, community and joy.

    Throughout the school year time changes to the day are determined by various individuals and groups. Each of these decisions are guided by the merit of what will happen during that time. Year level or whole school events are given precedence over daily classes at certain times for example. 

    During breaks students decided for themselves how they will use the time available. For some, social interaction is important and their time is spent connecting with friends and peers. Others attend leadership meetings and associated commitments, for others they join a band and practice together. 

    In reflecting upon these things we might consider more deeply what in fact is occurring. Time has two distinct qualities know to the Ancient Greeks as chronos and kiaros. Chronos is the measurement of time. In considering the new school year and how the days and weeks are broken up we are evaluating time in this manner. Although important to the function of the College there is no depth or purpose as such. 

    When we consider how the time is spent and what develops from the use of time we contemplate kiaros. Kiaros is evaluating the manner in which the time was spent. Kiaros has value as it can help quantify if the time was spent well. This determination depends upon whether the decision maker chose the right moment for the right action. 

    In the classroom the teacher sets up experiences to help the students learn. If the decision is sound and the experiences and actions made bring about growth, we can judge the time spent as being of value. Alternatively, if the student does not decide to enter into a lesson or experience in a positive manner the time spent may be evaluated from their perspective as wasted. 

    Time is important to us as human beings. We celebrate each second as we have lived and experienced what happened in it and we mourn time as every second that passes cannot be regained and the time left in our life is ticks away.

    In reflecting upon time and its qualities we may be guided by Jesus and St Ignatius who in different ways illustrate that time is best measured against kiaros. Contemplating the value of the time spent each day is where we can find contentment and peace. If the right action or decision is made at any point in time we can discern value and joy. An afternoon nap or half an hour day dreaming is equal to a day learning something of importance. The determining factor is whether it was the right action at the right time. 

    Each day we have the opportunity to live, grow and bring good into the world. Deciding how best to use the time gifted to us is where the skill of truly living can be found. Take a moment to reflect upon the recent holiday period and discern whether the way you chose to spend your time is best measured as chronos or kiaros. Regardless of the evaluation you make seek to decide in future to seek kiaros in the choices you make about the way you use your time each day. 

    Be comforted in knowing that time cannot be wasted. Time is simply lived with purpose and value or lived; either way life has been lived. Remember that even when there is a timetable or a work roster to be followed each moment can be fulfilling and life giving. The choice is yours. You can decide at any moment how you will enter a moment or experience and if you need to make change for it to be valuable.

    I wish you all the best as you begin this new year and that you will seek to measure each day by kiaros rather than and the simple equation of chronos.

    Yours in Christ,

    Brendan Nicholls  Religious Education and Liturgy Coordinator

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