October 9, 2020

Time is Precious!

Shortly after my first daughter was born, a dear friend told me I had only until about age twelve to pour into her spiritual and moral formation and shape her fundamental understanding of how our world works. After two decades of working with teenagers, I can confirm he was right. Twelve birthdays. Twelve summers. Twelve Christmases. Time is precious! 

You see, at thirteen years of age, a child enters adolescence, no longer a child and not yet an adult. Parenthood surely does not lessen during this season, and often it expands in complexity and joy. You may have heard the phrase, “Little kid, little problems. Big kid, big problems.” Why does this feel so true for many parents? Partly because this is the season of life when children seek validation (or rejection) of the beliefs and ideas their parents, and often the church, extended family, and broader community, have given them during childhood. Foundations like faith and character. Visions for life, meaningful work, faithful relationships, participation in culture and society, and so on. 

As a result, the four crucial years following childhood and leading up to adulthood — the high school years — are some of the most formative in a person’s life; a season when a young person begins to think and live independently. Here, beliefs are made personal, convictions lead to new commitments, and postures form towards faith, work, relationships, and the world itself. They also now begin to foresee the day — in the not so distant future — when they will venture out into the world. Four pivotal years; time is precious! 

Pacifica exists to breathe new life into this pivotal season. Parents need adult partners in their child’s education and formation for adulthood. Students need a growing number of compelling adults providing faithful examples of learning, living, and commitment to things beyond themselves. We have 1,400 days to accomplish this work. Time is precious!

We are grappling with the magnitude of all that humanity is experiencing around the globe. Men and women are striving to flourish in the face of real challenges and hardships! There is a great deal of loss and that loss is devastating! As we mourn with those who are grieving, we also wholeheartedly seek the preservation of life and human dignity. 

Teenagers across the country are experiencing significant losses as well. A loss many of them can’t fully comprehend or articulate quite yet. Continued isolation and a national public debate about the relative importance and necessity of their education and formation will not provide a generation of young people with a compelling vision for an adult life that is good — for them or for others. 

A day will come when our present challenges are behind us. When that day comes, we will celebrate and give thanks to God, whose mercies are new every morning, as we seek to do each day. But there will always be new challenges. New uncertainness and complexities that life will undoubtedly bring. Therefore, it is our responsibility as adults and educators to ensure the young people in our care today will be prepared to think and live well as adults in that tomorrow. 

We have 1,400 days to accomplish this work. Time is precious! Seeking wisdom and prudence, Pacifica is doing all we can to preserve the precious time we have with our students — for their good! A continual reimagining of a Pacifica education during this season requires great emotional and financial investment. It is a privilege and honor to lean into this season of uncertainty and challenges because the young people before us are worthy of our sacrifice. 

Next week, we will begin raising money  for Pacifica’s Annual Fund. This fundraising effort invites our community to partner with us financially in the crucial work we are compelled to do. The gifts we receive are critical, providing the necessary resources for this unique education, financial access to deserving students, and a beacon of hope to teenagers throughout our community. Giving is very personal, and so I thank you for your kind consideration of support and patronage.

With the precious time that we have been given — with wisdom and prudence — let us rally and enjoy the really human things in life while clinging to the deep comfort and peace that comes from permanent things. And by so doing, our children will know what to do when it is their turn to lead through moments of great complexity and loss. May the Lord be with us, as we live this out!

With love and prayers,
David O’Neil
Head of School

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