The median 40-year performance of the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 stock market index from 1928 to the present day occurred between May 1968 and April 2008, during which time the Index grew more than 14-fold. It would have been difficult to forecast this growth at any of the four points during that 40-year period when the Index was down more than 30% from its peak. It is so very challenging to maintain the long view in extremis.
If we imagine the course of the stock market over any given 40-year period as a metaphor for the course of the first 40 years of any given human life, we can imagine by extension the value of sustained supplemental investments in the childhood and adolescence of that life. Our early investments are not guarantees against downturns, but they can limit their depth; and as our investments compound, even years after they have ceased, their elevating influence only grows.
This is not about currency as usually construed. I only refer to early and ongoing investments of money in the S&P 500, notwithstanding sometimes protracted stock market downturns, as a metaphor for early and ongoing investments of love in a young person, notwithstanding sometimes protracted periods of crisis. “Our love is all of God’s money.” Jeff Tweedy, native of Belleville, Illinois, and founder of the band Wilco, said that. It may be my favorite lyric in all of music.
The downturn is ongoing. We cannot see far ahead. It is only an illusion of prosperity that we ever think that we can. We continue to invest in the young people we serve no matter the conditions under which we serve them. Our steady and sustained investments will elevate them in their lives ahead. It is good to be in partnership with you in our enduring work together.
Always reason, always compassion, always courage. I wish you and your families a wonderful weekend with each other.
Head of School