An Open “Thank You” to the PCA Community
Written by Creative Director, Nathan Paul
A Note on Thanksgiving
While the vision of the original Thanksgiving dinner between the Pilgrims and Native Americans has been proven to be a little romanticized, the message that Christ’s love unites men and women of every tribe and nation is one that will stand the test of eternity.
Next week, many of us will gather around our tables to celebrate God’s provision and providence over those first European settlers, and His continued providence over the entire symphony of human history. Thanksgiving is a necessary offering of glory and praise that King Jesus sits in His heavenly court, reigning over all of human history, and that He continues to reign in our everyday lives today–and for that we are more than thankful.
Things for Which I’m Thankful
Having an 11-month-old brings a new appreciation for just about everything in life. My wife and I have a front row seat to our daughter being introduced to the world around her. In the summer we watched her splash in the lake for the first time. This fall, we watched her play in the leaves and laugh as they fell from the trees above us. This Thanksgiving will be her first dinner at a big table filled with friends and family and, in a few weeks, we’ll sit in the living room and sing along to Heatmeiser and Snowmeiser in The Year Without a Santa Claus. I’ll drink enough egg nog to kill a horse, and it’ll be great.
You can’t comprehend how hard, or how rewarding, it is to be a parent until you’ve stood in that hospital room, or learned first-hand what it means to fully sacrifice yourself for another without any expectation of love in return. I’ve only begun my parenting journey, but I can see what the road ahead looks like in the many faces of PCA. I watched moms and dads drop off their 3-year-olds for the first day of preschool, and I immediately put myself in their shoes. A few weeks ago, I helped oversee part of our 7th Grade Leadership Day, and I thought about what it’ll be like to watch my daughter grow into her personality and navigate the physical and emotional shifts that come in Middle School.
Lastly, every day I have high school students in my office talking about sports, grades, post-grad plans and everything in between. Having Addy meant I gained a new perspective on life–YOUR perspective. (You=parents.) So, blending my parents and staff perspective, I want to say thank you” to three groups that make our school what it is–and WHO it is.
To our Staff and Faculty,
We recently shared the great news that our school has maintained its #1 ranking as Best K-12 Private School in New Hampshire. The accolade gets officially credited to the school, but its earned day after day by our teachers. We send our kids to school with the hopes that they’ll be led by a teacher who’ll help them see their role in God’s creation and help them discover who God created them to be. Along the way, we hope our kids will be taught to respect their peers, lead with kindness, and become well-informed critical thinkers so that they can go out and make an impact wherever they go.
Our teachers do all that and more. They volunteer to help with aftercare when we need coverage. They stay late after school to tutor students that need that extra help. They come in early to get extra grading done so that they can be fully focused on welcoming your children at arrival. They pray over your children, by name, and they’re always looking for ways to help your kids see God at work in their lives. Their students’ burdens are their burdens, and their joys are our teachers’ joys.
So, thank you to every staff and faculty member for everything you do, seen and unseen, to quietly, boldly, selflessly and passionately lead your students to their full God-given potential. There is a national shortage of teachers for a reason. YOU are the ones who stand in the breach and fight for the minds and souls of students every single day. That battle is a tiresome one, but you all answered the call because you know it’s cosmically important.
To our Families,
As I said, I’ve only begun my journey as a parent, and I’ve only scratched the surface of the joys and trials that come with raising a little boy or girl into a young man or woman. We have good days and bad days as parents, and sometimes we don’t know if we’re making the right call or not, but we trust that God has a hand over it all, and that he’ll fix all the things we unknowingly mess up.
I watch many of you make those hard decisions every day. I see you when you attend an Open House, excited, nervous, and hopeful that you’re making the right decision by investing in your child’s education—financially, logistically, and emotionally.
I see you light up when its your child’s turn to sing at the Christmas Concert. I watch you give your high schooler a hug when they’ve had a rough game. I see you in the dismissal line ready to give hugs and bare burdens after your child’s long day of school.
I see it.
That being said, I’ve also been able to see the fruits of your investments. I see students praying together in hallways. I hear rambunctious high school boys share their high honor and highest honor report cards, and every year I see young men and women walk across the graduation stage with a clear path to their calling and to who God called them to be.
For many families, PCA is home. For others, it’s a leap of faith. As we close out this first half of the school year, wherever you and your family are at in your PCA experience, I want to say thank you for trusting us with the education and formation of your children. Though we aren’t a perfect school, I hope you see that we are a faith-led school. And, I hope that the character-building and Christ-directed approach to academics that you read about in your admissions journey has played out in your walk with us as members of our community, and I hope He who sits on His cosmic throne, who set the foundation of the earth, and who numbers the hairs on every little head gives you the peace and rest you and your family need next week. Lastly, I hope you all can create a long list of things you’re thankful for–wherever and whatever they may be.
To our Students,
One of my favorite parts about my job are the interactions I get with students every day. It reminds me of what life was like at their age. The excitement of sleepovers with a friend. The life-or-death results of a football game on the playground. The excitement, and terror, of figuring out where I was going to college, IF I was going to college, and what I felt was my calling in life.
I’m reminded of how much it meant, and how much it helped, to be surrounded by people who loved me and saw my worth rooted in Christ. I had fun teachers, and I had grumpy teachers but, when I look back, each of them wanted what was best for me, even when I couldn’t see it.
So, to our students, from age 3 to 17, thank you for being you. Thank you for sharing your gifts, talents and sense of humor with us. While our mission is to inspire you, you are the ones who put in the work to reach that God-given potential. Our school was created to see you accomplish all you set out to achieve, and nothing brings us more joy than to see you grow every day.
SO, as we head off for Thanksgiving Break, I hope all of you, faculty, staff, students, and parents are filled with reasons to be thankful. Each of us are at a different stage of life with varying forces working for and against us. While those forces can delight and infuriate us all throughout the year, I find peace in occasionally taking a step back and looking at the race God is having me run.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. – Hebrews 12: 1-3