Throughout March in New England, people are starting their tomato seedlings and willing the final patches of snow to thaw. Spring is emerging, and each year as the temperatures slowly rise and the sun shines for longer each day, we are reminded of the importance of cultivating spaces for growth. This year perhaps more than ever, I am hearing students and teachers alike looking forward to new, good, fruitful growth in the year ahead. This has been a long, hard winter – some might say it’s been a year long season of scaling back and winteringbut we are looking forward to the slow and gradual emergence of the next season. We’re looking forward to new life and growth – new opportunities and familiar freedoms once again becoming part of our lives.

The word cultivate means “to prepare to use (land) for crops or gardening.” It’s an old gardening practice of preparation that consists of removing weeds and loosening the soil to optimize the retention of air, water and nutrients ahead of sowing new seeds. New growth doesn’t just happen. Space needs to be prepared for it to emerge.

Gardening isn’t the only place where this practice of preparation matters. It matters also when we consider the ways we hope to grow in our intellect and character. Every one of our teachers knows this matters, because we see them pour hours into cultivating a classroom space that is safe, comfortable, and conducive to deep learning at the start of every academic year. We see them perfecting lesson plans that cultivate the processing, application, and retention of knowledge. Teachers know the value of cultivating spaces for healthy, long-lasting growth to emerge. 

As we look forward to new growth as a community, we are taking a cue from the teachers in our midst, and we’re encouraging each other to consider:

What spaces do you need to cultivate for a new season of growth?

Spaces for rest? Spaces to learn new things? Spaces to seek God or join together with others in prayer? Spaces to heal? Spaces to create? Spaces for joy?

We’re excited to be cultivating spaces this spring for our students to have fun and connect with friends they have been far from for a long time. We’re also excited to be cultivating spaces for the parents in our community to hear from thought leaders in our network about the myriad of ways we are rising to meet new challenges as we raise, educate, and pray for teenagers in 2021.

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Keep an eye out here on our blog and across our social media channels for more information coming soon about a week of virtual gatherings coming in May, designed for parents to find encouragement and community, as they navigate these unchartered waters of parenting teenagers in 2021 and beyond.

We’re in this together – cultivating spaces for new growth and looking forward to a fruitful future. Join us!