In ancient Greece, the term “scholē” was tied to the concept of leisure. The idea was simple: leisure meant being free of business, free of obligation. It meant one had time to think, to contemplate, to discover. Leisure meant you were free to pursue knowledge and understanding.
Fast forward to today and the concept of school feels very different. Far from a feeling of leisure, it can sometimes feel like a race. I have seen parents race to get to school, students race to finish work, and families race to get ahead.
There is nothing wrong with being on time, finishing work, or striving to grow. But we lose something integral to the intended outworking of school when the work itself, when the progress itself, becomes the goal.
I was reminded of this earlier in the week, when I was unexpectedly privileged to share the gospel message with a student. In that moment, all the focus and attention we normally give to developing literacy and numeracy, curriculum and assessment, lessons and activities – all important things! – took a back seat to the spiritual and the eternal.
Dear families, this Christmas break, I invite you to insert some leisure into your lives. Plan not to be occupied. Plan some time to sit and think, question and wonder, discover and imagine. It is this taking of time to watch, listen, and reflect that gives purpose, value, and meaning to the educational acts we pursue.
As together we seek to raise children in the way they should go, let us do so with an eye to the eternal. Let us not walk in fear or anxiety, or succumb to the pressures of life, but take a moment to acknowledge the reign of Jesus; let us be still and know he is God.
Merry Christmas everyone!