The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Fay Magazine: Summer 2021

Head’s Notebook: You Can If You Will

Rob Gustavson, Head of School
In so many ways, for all of us, the 2020-2021 school year provided a prolonged test of our school motto, You Can If You Will. Read Rob Gustavson’s “Head’s Notebook” from this summer’s issue.
The rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine was an astounding accomplishment that represents the pinnacle of innovation and collaboration for the common good. This shining example of creative problem solving reinforces how important it is for us to nurture these essential cognitive skills and character strengths in our students—regardless of their particular interests and talents—so they will become adults who make a positive difference in the world, no matter what endeavors they choose to undertake.
In a more personal way for all of us at Fay, the past year provided a prolonged test of our school motto, You Can If You Will. As you will read in the following pages, we successfully provided a comprehensive, challenging, and engaging educational experience throughout the school year, whether students attended in-person, via live-stream, or asynchro- nously. This achievement was the result of thoughtful planning, deliberate implementation, and tremendous shared effort—all in the context of collective will.
We may think of willpower as being synonymous with self-control, but will is much more complex. Will begins with commitment to a worthy goal and is sustained by steadfast determination. It depends upon continuous effort, stamina, and resilience, yet it also requires flexibility and agility. Will is not the same as stubbornness or arrogance; rather, open-mindedness and humility are necessary to adjust plans and change course in order to succeed. Will enables us to be strategic and goal-oriented, helping us withstand setbacks, look beyond temporary pressures, and make disciplined decisions that keep us moving toward our larger purpose.
You Can If You Will is a powerful affirmation of the realistic optimism that is borne of agency. It reminds us not to waste precious time on wishful thinking or blind faith and to focus, instead, on acting with intention to address what is in our control. Despite the many difficulties and challenges during the past year, we have been encouraged to see that maintaining confidence in our ability to affect the outcome of our efforts does indeed help us achieve the best possible result.

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