The Long Haul

Today is graduation day at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School. Below is the letter I wrote to our 2018 graduates that is published in this year’s yearbook.

 

Dear Members of the Class of 2018,

I am happy to have this annual opportunity to share a message with our graduates as they leave our school for their next educational destination. As is the case with every school year, this one has passed incredibly quickly for me. But from your much more youthful perspective, your experience at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School—be it for one year or ten—may seem like it has been a long haul.

I write to extol the virtues of the long haul, whether it be in school or in life. There is something very important and valuable in the “daily-ness” of life. Growth ordinarily comes in very small increments, almost invisibly on any given day, but much more apparent over a longer period of time. In fact, significant success and achievement really only occurs over the long haul.

Our world is impatient with the long haul. I think of this as the “breaking news” phenomenon. I suspect not many of you are patrons of the cable news networks. If you were, you would understand quite well what I mean regarding breaking news. While the term suggests something of utmost urgency and rare occurrence, viewers of these networks know that “breaking news” is commonplace. Very few hours go by without an announcement of such news. This reflects our culture’s infatuation with the right now, the exciting, the immediately important—none of which are characteristic of the long haul.

In my own life, there have been “Aha” moments, but those have occurred very infrequently. Most of what I have learned and how I have grown as a person has happened over the long haul. While “breaking news” is at first glance much more exciting, for most of us most of the time the “long haul” provides the most important and substantive growth in our lives.

While your graduation is a wonderful occasion, it is not breaking news. Rather I see is as an important moment in the long haul of your lives. May that long haul eventually lead each of you to become the wonderful and fully developed person you are meant to be.

With great affection and appreciation,

Leo P. Dressel

Head of School

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