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Words From Head of School Pete Moore

Dear Families,

Recently, my children and I celebrated my wife’s birthday.

I reflected on how we spent her birthday last year, and it was jolting to consider how much has changed in twelve months.

The life we are living now would have been unimaginable only 365 days ago, yet here we are, doing our best to move through the world and raise our children while the ground we walk on feels shaky and uncertain.

Parenting can be hard at the best of times, and parenting during a pandemic can leave us feeling overwhelmed and isolated. When our own lives are turbulent, we instinctively worry whether we are doing the right thing for our children. It’s also natural to wonder what impact the pandemic is having on them and how the prolonged uncertainty will affect them in years to come.

Over the past year, I became interested in what enables some children and adolescents to endure tremendous challenges and emerge unscathed on the other side. This exploration led me to the work of Dr. Ann Masten of the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Masten has spent decades examining the effects of childhood adversity, studying children who were refugees and others who faced natural disasters, homelessness, war, and poverty. One might imagine that that such experiences will forever scar these children, but that is not always the case.

A number of these children experienced post-traumatic growth, a phenomenon in which people improve their level of functioning after a traumatic effect. Others experienced stress inoculation (or steeling effects), which occurs when exposure to stressful situations teaches children how to handle challenging situations in the future.

Research has clearly shown that stressful situations do not always have long-term adverse effects on children and adolescents. That being the case, what must we do to help our children experience post-traumatic growth in response to the pandemic instead of becoming fearful and anxious?

The solution is expressed in the title of Dr. Masten’s book, Ordinary Magic: Resilience in Development. Dr. Masten’s research has revealed that what helps children thrive despite war, poverty, and homelessness is very simple. She discovered that “the most powerful protective system for a human child is a loving, caring family.”

I found it tremendously reassuring that the things that will enable our children to manage uncertainty—and thrive despite it—are within our reach.

As parents, we need to:
  • Create emotional security by being sensitive to our children’s emotions and providing reassurance, hope, and optimism.
  • Carve out space to spend time together as a family, even if it’s only a game, dinner, or movie once a week.
  • Put age-appropriate boundaries around news and social media consumption.
  • Manage our own emotions to ensure that we are parenting mindfully.
  • Develop and maintain family routines.
Despite the magnitude of what our children have experienced, I believe their futures will be bright because they are surrounded by people who love them both at home and at school. As we move through this time, focus every day on the “ordinary magic.” These brief moments will give our children the internal fortitude to manage the present and thrive in the future.


Pete Moore
Head of School

Davidson Day Community Podcast

List of 3 news stories.

  • Podcast: Tiffani Thomas on the Importance of Tiny, Inspiring Moments

    In this episode of the Davidson Day Community Podcast, Head of School Pete Moore interviews Tiffani Thomas, who teaches middle school art and upper school journalism and serves as the faculty advisor for the award-winning Davidson Day School yearbook. 

    Tiffani is a fabulous, creative artist with an amazing story and inspiring perspective on teaching, the cycles of life, and the importance of tiny moments.  
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  • Podcast: Randy Baker on Entrepreneurship

    In this episode of the Davidson Day Community Podcast, Head of School Pete Moore interviews Randy Baker.  Randy, a parent of current Patriot Cameron ‘22 and Patriot alumnus Charli ‘15, grew up in Wilson, North Carolina, where he attended local public schools and began his working career by working in a tobacco field during the summers.  Now, Randy is the founder and CEO of MedCall Advisors, a tele-emergency medical provider that delivers immediate interventions for acute medical events including injury and illness, which also pivoted, innovated, and adapted to provide critical services to employers relating to COVID-19 at the outset of the global pandemic. 

    Beyond his role as a parent and CEO and founder of a company, Randy serves on the Advisory Board for a local nonprofit working to reduce situational homelessness and serves on the Davidson Day Health Advisory Board.
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  • Podcast: Tia Hill & Caitlin Barndt on What Colleges (Really) Want

    In the latest episode of the Davidson Day Community Podcast, Head of School Pete Moore interviews Tia Hill and Caitlin Barndt, who together comprise the Davidson Day College Counseling Office.

    Tia Hill is our Director of College Counseling, and Caitlin Barndt is our College Counseling Associate and Admission Associate, and in this conversation they discuss their pathway to their own college selections, working "on the other side of the desk," and the college admission process at Davidson Day.
    Read More
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Davidson Day School is an independent private school for students 2 years old through 12th grade in the Lake Norman region of Charlotte.