Jeff Elstad
Owatonna Public Schools
MASA President

It is hard to believe that just one year ago, I was sitting in the ballroom at the Northwest Marriott when we heard the Governor address our state regarding the onset of COVID-19. Since that time, we have come a long way in our understanding of COVID, but it has certainly taken its toll. Frankly, “This. Just. Stinks!”  

If any of you have been thinking like I have this year, you may be wondering if all the work is worth it. I contemplated this many times this past year – until one Sunday morning about a month ago when I came across a video of someone talking about the topic, “More Kairos, Less Chronos.” The topic intrigued me mostly because of the ironic nature of the words and, let’s face it, I have watched every episode of “The Crown.” But I digress.

Chronos is Greek for time that is measured – in other words, ticking, quantitative time. Conversely, Kairos is used by the Greek to also describe time, but it refers to “deep time,” like the time that almost stands still. The best way to describe the difference between the two is this: Chronos is looking at our clock and watching the time tick away; Kairos is when we take in a breathtaking sunset or a shared laugh with friends.

As we try to find a silver lining to the past year, this may be it. A forced slowdown has caused me to notice things differently. I don’t know about you, but I now get absolutely giddy when I get to go into school buildings and see students interacting. To see kids playing sports and even hearing music come from instruments that may have been silent for much of this school year brings tears to my eyes. If you are like me, you live the entire week with a calendar that is consumed by “Chronos” and is overfull with days that bleed into the next. Perhaps it is time for us to purposely build in some “Kairos” and fill in some time every day with moments that stop time. I believe that finding time to get lost in the moment may lead to better balance and certainly would allow us to hit our proverbial “why” jackpot (Simon Sinek would be proud of me). Some of you know that I love the “Lord of the Rings” series and am a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien. This Kairos perspective reminds me of something Tolkien once said: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”  

As we get closer to the end of a hectic school year and execute our plans moving forward, I would encourage all of you to consider this challenge:  What if you lived one week Kairologically, instead of Chronologically?  What would that do for you?

It is my hope that you stay connected, find balance, take care of yourself, enjoy moments that breathtakingly stop time, and keep the faith!

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