Most of us go through life wanting to avoid conflict. While we most likely try to find the path of least resistance to achieve our goals, this is not always the best route. Our goal at Proctor is to equip students with the tools and confidence necessary to face challenges.
Friday evening, Gregor Makechnie ‘90 offered a showing of “Mandela”, a biographic film of the late Nelson Mandela who passed last Thursday, to students. We can learn much from a man like Mandela, not the least of which is his approach to obstacles. He wrote to his wife, Winnie, from prison in 1975 saying, “Difficulties break some men, but make others.”
For each student at Proctor, obstacles arise. They vary in complexities, and while all pale in comparison to those Mandela helped South Africa face during his lifetime, they remain real for each student. They may come while reading Beowulf
, or perhaps during a solo on Mountain Classroom. Maybe the challenges come aboard The Harvey Gamage, or while living with a host family in Spain. Perhaps Algebra 2 seems unsurmountable for one student, while Spanish 2 does for another.
We are certain every student will encounter challenges during their time at Proctor. And this is a good thing; for the student, for the teacher, for the school. For it is out of these challenges that we grow as a community, and it is out of the successful navigation of these hardships that students gain confidence in themselves as learners.
Poet Eddie Guest wrote the following in "The Never Wavering Few": The easy roads are crowded
And the level roads are jammed;
The pleasant little rivers
With the drifting folks are crammed. But off yonder where it's rocky,
Where you get a better view,
You will find the ranks are thinning
And the travelers are few. Where the going's smooth and pleasant
You will always find the throng,
For the many, more's the pity,
Seem to like to drift along. But the steeps that call for courage,
And the task that's hard to do
In the end result in glory
For the never-wavering few.
We want our students to run into speed bumps. We want them to wrestle at times with their educational journey, and we want them to have to work hard to achieve their goals. We know know that when we surround students with supportive relationships, they will embrace challenges that arise, and grow from facing those obstacles with confidence.