Hyde & Asian Parents: Shenzhen

After Shanghai, Team China moved on to its third and final stop: Shenzhen.  Here’s Laura’s report:

After a flight delay and arriving at the wrong hotel at 2:00 a.m., (China time), the team rallied to greet the six families, (4 – Woodstock, 2- Bath) and one graduate family who came to the workshop.

While it was a smaller group than Shanghai, the families were open, reflective and focused on learning more about the Hyde family education process. Again, Hyde Board member Raymond Koda shared his Hyde experience with the group and set the tone. The Hyde students were engaged and mature. Bob Felt commented, “I am impressed with what our students are showing to their parents. We need to challenge more of this to come out at school.”

We changed up some of the format and decided to push the group to get to a deeper level of sharing. For the family solo, we asked each group to forma a tight circle around each other and have one family member close their eyes and share their feelings about the strengths and challenges of the family while everyone else just listening. In the second round, each person closed their eyes and heard feedback from family members. The group jumped into this exercise and when we asked for feedback from the exercise, some of the comments were:

– “My son is eighteen and this was the deepest conversation that we have ever had.”
– “It was good to close my eyes as I would have been embarrassed to share.”
– “My son told me that the more I yell at him, the more he wants to disobey.”
– “This was an important conversation for me to have with my mother. I also need to have this talk with my father.”

It is hard to capture all the little moments from the day as there were so many. Don MacMillan helped the families understand the key to better communication was finding the courage to say the truth to each other. Jing had an emotional moment with her Dad where she said she was afraid that she would let her family down by not reaching her high expectations. Later her father shared with the group, “I used to think that the most important thing for my daughter was to get into a top 50 college/university in the US, but now I want her to have the character she needs to be successful.”

There has been much to digest and process from our trip but a few things that the team has noted:

  • Hyde’s Chinese families are in the top 1% (in terms of income) of all families in China.
  • Many of them worked their way to success and did not come from wealth.
  • Achievement and College are top priority and yet they are embracing Hyde principles and family focus.
  • Some mentioned teachings of Confucius as connected to the Hyde education.
  • There is a thirst for US education.
  • Just like US families today, parents are giving their children too much “stuff.”
  • Hyde students see Discovery group as a key experience for them and connections to Hyde faculty are critical.

We have seen that the Hyde education has universal potential. As former Hyde Board Chair Rob Krebs said, “The world would be a better place… if everybody spent a little time at Hyde School.”  We experienced that this week and learned as much as we taught. – LDG

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld