Micro Naiveté

Over the years, discussions I have had with people about the Hyde mission have sometimes been met by a dual-level response: “I hear you, man, but isn’t that kind of naïve?”

On one level, the person might be saying, “That’s all well and good, but how will all that character stuff fly when the kid goes on to college or gets out in the real world?” (Of course, things can get confusing in light of the fact that the “Real World” is now a show on MTV.) Let’s call that “micro naiveté.”

On another level, some say, with a sigh, “Yeah, I’m a true believer, but it’s pretty naïve to think that you’re going to change the world.” Let’s call that “macro naiveté.”

As for micro naiveté, I ask you to think about your workplace or perhaps an organization where you volunteer your time. Now think about the top two or three key individuals in the company, firm, or organization. Who are the ones you admire most? The people that you would hold up as a role model for your own children? The people you would tell your own brother or sister to emulate if they were joining your company?

OK, once you picture those two or three people in your mind, answer this question: What is it about them that makes them such critical players?

I have asked this question to hundreds of parents across the country at Biggest Job workshops that Laura and I have conducted during the past decade. No matter where we are, parents give the same answers, citing the following qualities: work ethic, the extra mile, integrity, trustworthiness, creativity (“Out of the box,” they say.), persistence, loyalty, humility, respect, etc. While occasionally someone will cite “intelligence,” I have never heard any mention of college pedigree, much less G.P.A.

So, I ask, What do you mean it’s naïve?

Onward, Malcolm Gauld