Bath, ME— This October, Hyde School, a national leader in character-based education, held workshops entitled “Know Yourself, Be Yourself” at St. Johns School in Brunswick and, for the third year a row, at the Camden-Rockport Middle School.
The program brings together Hyde high school students with groups of sixth, seventh and eighth graders from the two schools to focus on their character development as maturing teenagers. The workshop introduces the middle school students to the foundational principles of Hyde School, which are Courage, Integrity, Leadership, Curiosity and Concern for others. On the second day of the workshop, the 8th graders ran the day’s activities and demonstrated their confidence by providing leadership to the underclassmen in their schools.
“The greatest gift that parents and schools can give is that of helping kids to become their authentic selves—and the courage to remain true to themselves,” says parenting expert and Executive Director of Hyde boarding schools, Laura Gauld. “These are themes that develop in adolescence, but remain with us through life.”
The purpose of the “Know Yourself” workshop is to help students understand how to take risks to discover more about themselves, and to help them find the courage to be themselves, even when others may not support them—a common scenario among teens. Parents may also do this program at home with their teens, and now is a great time as they prepare to spend more time together during the summer.
There are three tenets of the program:
- We are all unique and we all want to be somebody.
- It takes courage to be ourselves.
- We need the support and challenge of others to find our uniqueness and to know who we truly are.
“These are guiding principles that will help teens to form their goals, as well as the journey of achieving them,” says Gauld. “And a process of self-discovery supported by their families, better prepares them for school, and for life.”
Throughout the sessions, students are invited to participate in fun and interactive exercises, including “Public Self / Private Self” exercises and an exercise about how categorizing and labeling others affects teens and parents, and what can be done to avoid these kinds of judgments.
Finally, teens are invited to create declarations about themselves, answering two specific questions:
- What dreams do I have for my future?
- What do I want to stand for as a person?
Hyde Senior Tobias Weymar stated about his experience doing the program, “I learned how to foster leadership in others and develop my own. I learned that I can inspire younger kids, and that having someone look up to you brings out the best in you.” Another student shared, “I enjoyed bonding with these kids; it definitely helped me see myself as a leader and role model; they bring out a calm, sensitive, embracing side of me.”