A Parent Thing

A few years ago, I was running an impromptu school meeting regarding a group of students who had been breaking some of the rules. This type of meeting happens periodically at Hyde, and provides an opportunity for students to act on their conscience and be truthful about transgressions, running the gamut from lying to their parents about staying out late at home to stealing or even substance use while at school. During the course of this meeting, I was trying to help the students understand that the commitment to the truth is a life habit, not a Hyde habit. It does not matter where the dishonesty occurred (hence the students who talk about lying at home); it matters that the dishonesty can prevent them from reaching their potential and from growing into whom they really are. As I am speaking, a number of students moved from one seating area to another, indicating that they do indeed have an issue or situation they would like to clear up.In this particular meeting, a number of parents were present. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of the parents quietly get up and move to the part of the room indicating she had a situation which she wanted to clear up. The meeting continued without interruption. At the conclusion of the meeting, I asked the parent why she had moved. “The meeting was about being truthful in our lives. I want my daughter to be truthful and yet I haven’t been truthful about my continued substance use. How can I ask my daughter to be honest in a way that I am not?” This parent obviously understood that honesty was a life habit, not a Hyde habit, and it is a habit that needs life-long cultivation. It was a great moment because she reinforced her desire and habit of honesty, and was a great role model for her daughter as well as the entire school community – students, parents and teachers.