in Faith, Notes

You are what you schedule?

Every Spring I conduct an experiment with a group of students. I did this once with a group of teachers and, to many of the students’s surprise, the results were nearly identical.

I ask the students to respond to what I am about to say with a simple facial reaction. They are to smile if their response to my words is generally positive, and frown if their response to them is generally negative.

Then I ask them to give me a blank facial expression before I utter those words every student longs to hear: “Summer break.”

As you can imagine, the room was full of smiles.

Everyone in the room, whether teacher or student, has spent a good amount of their life following the school calendar. By following this calendar year and year, they have actually learned to love summer.

To an accountant, or an engineer, or a doctor, “summer” is simply the time of year that you go to work when it is hot outside. To those of us in the world of education—even for those of us who work through the summer—there is a sense of freedom, flexibility, and bliss when summer arrives.

The School Calendar has taught us what to love.

This is actually a big deal: calendars have the power to shape what we love. Whether we are paying attention to them or not, the various calendars we follow are shaping our desires. And most of the calendars we follow are teaching us to love things that aren’t always worthy of our love.

an excerpt from a forthcoming book on the Church Calendar