Chaplain's thought for the week

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Chaplain's thought for the week

Revd Tom reflects on using time over the summer holidays

Not long now until our pupils will be free to enjoy the summer holidays. From the moment we finish our final assemblies it will be eight weeks until they’ll be sitting back in the same halls again at the start of a new term. 56 days or 1,344 hours, if you like. It sounds like a very long time when you put it like that… but I’m sure it will go very fast for most pupils!

I once walked past a pub with a sign outside which really my attention: ‘Time is precious – waste it wisely.’ It struck me that this is an excellent sentiment. We all need to waste time. We all need downtime: time to relax and put our feet up; time to go out and have fun; time to chill out with our friends and family. It’s doing these things which makes us more effective when we’re working. There’s a great wisdom in the Judeo-Christian concept of the Sabbath day of resting from our toil.

But the quote also reminds us because time is precious, we need to be careful in the way we waste it. In fact, Charles Darwin said that a person ‘who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.’ So the rest that our pupils take over the holidays should not be really a waste, but a valuable use of time.

In Psalm 90 in the Bible the poet sings:

The days of our life are seventy years,
or perhaps eighty, if we are strong…
they are soon gone, and we fly away.

And then it advises: ‘So, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’

In other words, our lives are actually quite short, so we need to be careful in our use of time; we need to appreciate the value of each day that we have.

In our final assembly, I’ll be asking our pupils to imagine themselves back in the same hall in 56 days, when they’ll be eight weeks older. I’ll ask them to imagine themselves looking back over their summer holidays – and as they look back, to consider what might they might have done that will make them look back and be pleased. With that in mind, I will suggest that they start making a mental list of the things they want to do and achieve, the people they’d like to spend time with, the books they’d like to read, the experiences they hope to have.

Time is precious – waste it wisely.