The Biggest Job We'll Ever Have
“School is for kids; Hyde is for families.”
– a popular Hyde saying
A 2016 survey of current Hyde parents asked,
Do you believe there is a connection between your child’s success at Hyde and your participation in the Family Program?
Over 85% of the respondents answered “Yes.” (Fewer than 2% answered “No” and 12% were undecided.)
In 2002, Laura and Malcolm Gauld wrote The Biggest Job We’ll Ever Have (Scribner). Unlike other education books that focus on the child, The Biggest Job focuses on a child’s primary teacher – the parent. The book was written with the primary purpose of helping mothers and fathers accept and honor the commitment to be exceptional parents. The Biggest Job book and program is based on three beliefs about that commitment:
- It is hard.
- It is doable.
- It is never too late.
The Biggest Job presents and explores 10 Priorities that have come to form the backbone of Hyde’s family education program:
- Truth over Harmony
- Principles over Rules
- Attitude over Aptitude
- Set High Expectations and Let Go of Outcomes
- Value Success & Failure
- Allow Obstacles to Become Opportunities
- Take Hold and Let Go
- Create a Character Culture
- Humility to Ask for and Accept Help
- Inspiration: Job #1
Hyde parents examine and explore their roles relative to these Priorities alongside their peers, their children, and the faculty.
In his 1993 book Hyde – Preparation for Life, Hyde founder Joe Gauld explains, “The most influential person in the process is the parent. How well the parent comes to understand the Hyde process, and then acts on that understanding, is the single most important factor in student and family success, not just at Hyde, but later in life.”
More About the Family Program
The Family Program at Hyde School encourages a lifelong journey of personal and family growth.
Helping each participant to become his or her best self.
Understanding the family’s strengths and challenges.
Learning about the core beliefs and principles of the Hyde Education.
There are three required components to the year-long program. The first two years have a structured format. Subsequent years allow parents flexibility within the program’s framework.
- Region – As a global network for Hyde families, the region provides a setting for parents to focus on their own growth. Parents are expected to attend four regional meetings (September; November; January; and May) and participate in Hyde webinars. During the March vacation, families do community service. The September meeting is an all-day parent orientation; the January meeting is an overnight retreat.
- Family Learning Center (FLC) – The FLC is a two- or three-day workshop held on campus. (Veteran families have the option to attend a wilderness FLC in Eustis, ME.) Parents each choose a date (they may not chose the same date) which best fits their schedules from an FLC calendar provided by Family Education Department.
- Family Weekends – A time when the entire community gathers, family weekends provide an opportunity to highlight student growth, work on family renewal and reaffirm the mission of the school. Two family weekends are held each year: one in October and one in April. These weekends begin on Thursday night and end on Sunday at noon.
The family program is open to all parents and committed adults. Full participation involves a willingness to do one’s best. Hyde recognizes that conflicts may arise and the Family Education staff will work closely with each family to create a successful partnership which will ultimately benefit the student.
Parents who participate in the program have an opportunity to graduate with a Hyde Parent Diploma on the morning of their child’s commencement.
The Hyde Parent Diploma
At Hyde, we consciously seek to offer character-forming experiences so that our students and parents can work together for personal and family growth. The academic year concludes with a poignant graduation ceremony where each graduate speaks for two minutes as their family stands in the audience. Before this, there is a breakfast ceremony on graduation morning where parents who have completed the Family Education Program receive their own diplomas.
Rather than having the parents speak, we read a brief citation that their children, the graduating seniors, have written in their honor. The following examples were read at a recent graduation:
Dad, from the ASU football games we attended together when I was a little girl, to you coaching all my soccer teams in elementary school, to now – I will always be grateful that you have been one of my biggest support systems. Our relationship hasn’t always been strong, but I believe you and I have worked hard, especially this year, to be honest with each other. This is the reason we have become close again. Your honesty has inspired me. – Maureen Bellwoar
Mom, I am so proud of the person you have become over the last couple of years. You came to Hyde a worried, timid mother who never focused on herself. You are leaving a strong, confidant woman who works on herself. You’ve inspired me to trust in myself and my abilities to lead others. – Connor Champagne
Dad, you have been the best example for me of how to have a vision and go for it. Your wisdom as a man is something I try to absorb and practice as I grow into my independence as an adult. I don’t have to look very far for motivation or inspiration in my pursuit of success. – Tyquan Ekejiuba
As these statements indicate, our kids are inspired when they observe us striving to improve our own character. They are inspired less by our accomplishments and more by our own efforts to face the unknown in ourselves. They are moved when we tackle a personal challenge with an uncertain outcome, and when we strive to better ourselves as people.
Parents are the primary teachers and the home is the primary classroom.