From the earliest moments of parenthood, we learn that life will be filled with contradictions of independence. We simultaneously want them to stay little forever, and we want to never change another diaper. We want to protect our children, and want them to see the world. Competing emotions weave themselves together into an irreplicable sort of love that helps us find a place like Proctor where our children will spread their wings and find themselves, even though we know saying goodbye is so, so hard.
On Tuesday morning, just over 90 new families made the trip to Andover, New Hampshire for Registration Day. Emotions checked every box possible, pin-balling between nervousness and excitement, sadness and joy, fear and trust. Both parents and students tried to make sense of this new range of feelings swirling around their minds and hearts.
As humans, we possess this beautiful ability to hold, and in turn wrestle with, contradictory emotions. We can be nervous for our children’s experience at Proctor and be excited for the opportunities before them. We can hold both sadness and joy. We can mourn the end of one stage of life, and look with anticipation at what lies ahead. We don’t have to choose one or the other.
Our ability to successfully navigate the contradictions of parenthood requires us to trust the adults into whose care we pass our children. The relationships we seek to develop with our students at Proctor are mirrored by the partnership we desire to form with parents and guardians. Adolescence is rarely a linear journey of growth, instead it twists and turns and tests the strands of the support that surround each student. As we welcome new students to campus, we begin the process of building trust with our students and parents. We acknowledge this trust only develops over time, but we also know that authenticity and transparency accelerate the process.
With a rainy backdrop, the Proctor journey for our new students began today. The strands of trust that will sustain us throughout the year are beginning to form in the new friendships within Wilderness Orientation groups, in dorms, and with advisors. As educators, watching adolescents begin to trust each other, to trust the adults who have been introduced into their lives, and to trust the Proctor experience is simply magic.