When I was student teaching I went on a secret senior retreat as an adult observer, where students weren’t allowed to reveal any of the details of what they did there, weren’t given a schedule, nor permitted to carry cell phones or watches. I’m not entirely sure what thinking was behind this, since the event itself was planned out in great detail, and had been held several times a year for decades. I think it was planned in that way for psychological reasons. An event feels more like an adventure if one doesn’t have preconceptions about what one is going to do during one’s time there.

Different people react differently to disruptions in their own internal measures of time depending upon many things — especially how flexibly their own family culture is about time. Mine lies toward the more flexible side of things, so usually I thought that people were overemphasizing flexibility in things like that retreat, or on mission trips: they were usually at least as structured as my average week at home; usually more so. We would always wake up at eight or so, eat breakfast, clean up, pray, go and do things, eat lunch, go and do more relaxing things, have a worship service, eat dinner, reflect, socialize, and go to sleep. There was very little variation in this basic schedule, nd there wasn’t even very much variation in the main occupations for those basic periods — usually there would be a useful activity, a learning activity, a talk or visit, a reflection (first written then shared), etc — in more or less that order. This is hardly surprising, since humans all share a nature, and have more of less the same basic pattern of life. In Georgia I have to suppose that there is also a basic pattern, but in some respects I have yet to figure out  quite what it is.


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