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The Days Are Long, But The Years Are Short: Perspectives on Winter

Scott Allenby

As parents raising young children, we were frequently reminded that “the days may be long, but the years are short.” In the midst of endless diaper changes, waking up five times a night to night-parent, dealing with toddler tantrums, and then showing up at work pretending to be well rested and ready to think creatively, we found ourselves blindly trusting our older colleagues and repeating their advice as a means of maintaining sanity. 

Proctor Academy Students

Winter months at boarding school in New England can feel similar to these early days of parenthood. Each day brings with it different trials - cold weather, illness, long days, sleet, snow - yet we look back on the first half of the trimester and marvel at the nonlinear growth that has taken place within our community. 

Proctor Academy Students

In the Profile of a Proctor Graduate, we highlight our aspirational goal that each graduate would leave Proctor possessing resilience, among other attributes. We teach these other attributes  (collaborative, ethical, creative, knowledgeable problem solvers) through the relationships we share with students as boarding school educators, but as we think about the month of January within the context of the society in which our children are being raised, the notion of resilience carries additional weight. 

Proctor Academy Students

As our students encounter adversity, how hard do we push them through it? Do we hold their hand the whole time? Do we remove the obstacle? Do we keep adding more support, or does that undermine our goal to develop resilience? We do not know the right answer to these questions. Each situation is wholly unique, each young person possessing their own resilience elasticity, and our role is to help students stretch themselves just a little bit farther than they thought possible. 

Proctor Academy Students

We welcome February with open arms not just because the days will get a bit longer and temperatures will hint at spring, but because we appreciate the little moments along the way to growth. We acknowledge some of these winter days feel especially long, but when we zoom out from the minutiae of the day to day, we see the months and years fly by. Here’s to sunshine, a few more powder days, and a daily dose of perspective as we launch into this final stretch of the Winter Term. 

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