“I have a new hobby. It’s homework.” A parent recently shared with me the lunch conversation she had with her son and his friends. One of the friends was lamenting his lack of free time and the demands of his senior year. This comment, funny as it might be, reflects an enormous shift in this young man’s attitude. “Joe” has had quite a difficult fall. Because of numerous poor decisions he’s made, he was in and out of class and on and off 2-4. More than this, he was not consistently invested in making the most of his opportunity at Hyde. This was evident in class from his lack of participation, his inconsistent preparation, and his constantly slumping posture. It was also clear from how he handled his athletic commitment. Here too he would put in partial effort, hoping to slide by. That was then however. Fortunately for him and for our community, something has changed.
When I heard this comment from the parent, I laughed. It also gave me pause to be more observant of this student’s action and attitude. Over the last few days I’ve watched him in class, on the field, and around the school. He is in a different place and his actions show it. Athletically, he is working overtime to earn a starting position and set the example for his peers. Academically, he is speaking out, has caught up on missed assignments, and is no longer slumped in his seat. In fact, he sits with a straight back and doesn’t divert his eyes. When walking by me on the paths, he greets me and those he passes. While he will undoubtedly stumble again, like we all do, I am proud of his effort and know that, now, after weathering the difficulty, he wants to make the most of his time here at Hyde. Yes, he has a new hobby. Homework is only part of it though. Hard work and belief in himself are at the core.