The Importance of Giving

Posted by Peggy Procter on 11/2/2017

As you’ve heard from my many family stories, I had a wonderful dad.  My dad taught me lots of things that remain with me today and which likely (sorry Sidney!) I will try to pass onto my own child.  Aside from teaching me how delicious dog biscuits are and how important sunscreen is (or in the absence of sunscreen, sun cardboard to block the nose), he taught me about the importance of gratitude and giving.  


My father was a scrawny child, and he struggled socially in his adolescent years.  He was a good athlete, but his small size made it harder and harder to compete as everyone around him got big and tall.  At the age of 15, like me, he went off to boarding school.  While he excelled academically, he struggled socially.  Then, one day, his dorm head, who also happened to be the track and cross country coach, urged him to start running and to join the team.  My father had always love baseball and basketball, but these required height and strength, which he still didn’t have.  So he decided to go for it, and honestly, his life changed.  He worked hard, and found a great deal of success as a runner.  And more importantly, he became part of something, a team, where he was accepted and valued for who he was.  HIs last two years at Exeter were much better than his first due to the encouragement of a wonderful mentor and coach and the unconditional support of his teammates.  Despite all the difficulties, my father never forgot what he gained during his time at Exeter and was always grateful.  So, on the day I graduated from Exeter, my father pulled out the Exeter alumni magazine, and proudly showed me his name - *Arthur Wyman Procter, Jr..  I asked him what the asterisk stood for, and that’s when he told me that an asterisk indicates a person who has given to the Annual Fund EVERY year since graduation.  He was very clear to me that it was not the amount of the gift that mattered - what mattered was giving whatever you could consistently.  What mattered was showing, in small ways, the deep gratitude he felt for the people and the place that had given and taught him so much.  I always remembered that lesson, and I have tried in my own small ways, to show gratitude each and every day.  Of course, somehow in my busy life, I missed a year so I don’t have an asterisk next to my name in the Exeter Bulletin, but every time I do remember to donate to the Annual Fund, it reminds me of my beautiful dad and I do so with a smile and a generous heart.  


In closing, allow me to send a long overdue thank you to you, the Echo Horizon community.  Thank you for welcoming me and my family so warmly.  Thank you for supporting us in “co-parenting” our daughter.  Thank you for sharing with me what you love most about Echo so we can best preserve its beauty.  Thank you for your honesty in sharing with me constructive and helpful feedback to improve my own leadership and make Echo Horizon the best it can be.  Last, but certainly not least, thank you for simply being good, kind, caring people.  It is a gift to share my life with people like you.