This I Believe

Kevin - Brielle, New Jersey
Entered on February 19, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

“Live the fourth”. That is the only thing ever heard in the hallways of St. Rose that has anything to do with Kairos, the four-day senior retreat. Only those who have been on Kairos would be able to tell you what it means; but they won’t. What happens on Kairos is the best-kept secret around. Whenever I asked a senior who had just been on the retreat to tell me what happens, they would just shake their head and say, “The retreat leaders asked that we keep everything confidential”. This always surprised me being that news travels around St. Rose faster than a forest fire during a drought. Another thing about Kairos, which always surprised me, is how people acted when they returned home from it. Mean people would suddenly care about how others felt, shy kids could talk in front of the class without fidgeting once, and the most bizarre, unexpected friendships would form between classmates.

It wasn’t until I actually went on the retreat myself that I fully understood the phenomenon of Kairos. It’s hard to explain what I believe in when technically what I believe in is confidential. I can’t tell you what it means to “life the fourth”, but I can tell you that I have learned it is wrong to judge others, and this I believe. On the retreat, I was put into a group with six classmates that I really didn’t know. I had spoken to them from time to time, but they were not my friends. In the three years that I had gone to school with them, I had formed opinions and judged them all. There was one boy that I thought was the weirdest kid in the world. He had never done anything wrong to me but I certainly disliked him. Throughout the retreat, our group spent a lot of time together. By the end of the fourth day, I can honestly say I appreciated not only the boy, but the entire group as well. All of my judgments had been proven wrong and my opinions about the kids had changed completely. Before the retreat, I had no idea who any of them were, and by the end of it I had realized how ignorant I was to judge them. How was it fair for me to judge someone when I had no idea where he or she has been and what he or she has gone through?

When we judge people, we form opinions, and our opinions become our words. It is important to know that our words can have a major impact on people’s lives. Since I have been home from Kairos, I can happily say that I have been “living the fourth”. As I have said before, only those who have been on Kairos would be able to tell you what it means; but we won’t. All that I can say is that it has something to do with taking what you have learned from Kairos and teaching others. Now, whenever I hear my friends talking about someone and judging them, I try my best stop them and help them realize that judging people is not the right thing to do. Now, as I am entering a new school with hundreds of kids I have never met before, I can take what I have learned about judging people and put it to use. In other words, I am going to show them what it is to “live the fourth”.