On the road with the Biggest Job program
by Mary Moore, P’03, P’04, P’07, P’14, faculty
Over a decade ago, Hyde began to grow its international student population, the majority of whom come from China. Today, they represent just under 20 percent of our overall student
population, which is roughly where we plan to be moving forward. We appreciate the perspective and culture these students bring to our community but we realized that to fully integrate these families into the Hyde culture—in addition to them coming to Hyde when possible—we need to bring the family program overseas.
In China, the Hyde Biggest Job Family Program hits the road, making the 17-hour journey to work with our current and alumni families. We visit several cities, which have included Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Xi’an, Shenzhen, Xiamen, among others. We present one-day family workshops for Hyde students and parents in each area in addition to high level one-on-one meetings with families. We also offer a presentation informing parents about how the college process works at Hyde. Using translated video and handouts, we introduce them to people and resources on campus that can help their son or daughter.
“Hyde changed the way our family was communicating. We learned how to have an adult-to-adult conversation with our son.” Zhibo Xi (Paul Xi ’15)
As we do with our domestic families during our family workshops, we ask parents and students to reflect on several areas:
- Truth in their family and family communication.
- Each family member’s character as related to the Hyde philosophy, concentrating on the five words: Courage, Integrity, Leadership, Curiosity and Concern.
- Personal and family excellence and growth.
We begin the workshop by asking each family member to introduce themselves to the group by
answering these questions:
- What was I like as a child?
- What things do I love to do?
- What do I hope for and dream of in my future?
- What are strengths I see in myself?
- What are some challenges I face?
“As a late bloomer, my son was able to build confidence, resilience and learn how to be himself. As parents, we learned that for children my son’s age, it is more important for us to be an inspiration. I changed from a Mom who was anxious and often worried about my son to a Mom who focuses on learning new things and developing my hobbies. My positive learning attitude influenced how my son viewed learning." Jiayan Yin (Bernard He ’17)
Families also share on questions that help them learn about themselves and others in the family. Some
example questions are:
- What are you most proud of in your life and what regrets do you have?
- What do you need to forgive yourself for and what fears keep you from doing so?
- When have you failed at something that was important to you? How did you handle it and
learn from it?
- Is it hard for you to ask for help? Why?
Finally, each family works together to create a family mission statement. This statement includes what
is important to them individually and as a family, a vision, people who are important to their journey,
strengths they can count on in themselves, as well as obstacles they may encounter.
These family workshops solidify and foster the important partnership between our Chinese families and the school. In addition, these visits acknowledge the commitment Hyde families make to build character and leadership in their student and in their family. Some of our families travel several hours by plane in order to attend a workshop in one of the cities we are visiting. As parents are the primary teachers of their children, their participation in this character process is crucial for the student’s growth. We have found that families are truly grateful for this opportunity to take time out of their lives and become more open and honest with those who are most important to them—their family.