Exploring Time Group Guide

Volume IV, Number IV

Artwork by Eleanor Goetz

The paradox of the eternal and the temporal is at the core of this issue of KidSpirit. From the experience of the “thin current” in our daily lives to explorations of eternity itself, this theme is both a reflection of the peculiarities of our era and on the mystery of the human condition.

1. In Susanna Olson’s Awesome Moment, “Time Just Marches On,” she describes an unexpected encounter with an elderly couple in her neighborhood. She forms a close friendship with them in spite of the many years that separate them. Are people of different generations in your community close, or do most people interact only with others their own age? Are there benefits or drawbacks to having close relationships with others who are much younger or much older than you? What about people who are only a few years older or younger?

2. The Slow Movement began as a reaction against a fast-paced culture that seems to value expediency over the mindful enjoyment of many aspects of our lives. Are there parts of your life that you notice seem to fly by too quickly? Activities that you wish you could experience more slowly? What are they? Try doing a task more slowly than you would normally, like walking to school or to a friend’s house, rather than driving or riding your bike. What do you notice as you take more time to do that activity? Where does your mind travel in those extra minutes?

3. In her PerSpectives article, Jay Griffiths describes the difference between chronological, or “clock” time and kairological time, or the natural time we experience in daily activities, when time feels fast or slow. Keep a time journal and take notes about your daily experience of time. Do you think about time when looking at a watch or clock? Do you think about it when the sunrises or sets, or when the air is getting warmer or colder? Do you notice time when you’re waiting for something boring to end or notice when you’re engaged in an absorbing activity? What do these moments reveal about our experience of time? Is time a measuring device with a beginning, middle, and end? Is it cyclical? Jot down your thoughts in your journal and compare notes with your friends.