Road Trip #6 – Of Home Runs &…

Q1: What are the ingredients combine for a home run of a Hyde experience?
Q2: What are the ones that combine for a strikeout?

First, books… long books… could be written on either/both of these questions.  To get some perspective, I ran this one by my wife, Laura Gauld ’76, head of school at Hyde-Bath and Executive Director of Hyde Boarding Schools.

Relative to Q1’s home run, Laura observed that some of the answer lies with the student and some of it lies with the parent(s). Regarding the parents, Laura highlighted three factors:

1) Hyde has its most positive impact on what Laura calls “Principle-Centered Families.” At the head of such families are parents who put character first in their interactions with their kids, each other, and in the world outside the home, both professionally and personally.

2) Hyde works best with families where the parents are long-term focused and not seeking the “quick fix.”  And that long-term focus applies to the years beyond graduation.  As my father, Hyde founder Joe Gauld, often says, “I have never seen a case where the parent ‘got it’ and the kid didn’t.”

3) Home runs are most common in families where parent growth is valued as highly as student growth.  Over the years, on more than a few occasions, I have heard variations on this comment from Hyde alumni parents: “My wife and I got a lot more out of Hyde than our child did.”

So, conversely, from the Q2 side of the equation, strikeouts are relatively common in circumstances when 1) families are uncertain about or lack follow-through on their principles; 2) are focused on the quick-fix (Full Disclosure: The term “Fix-It Parent” has been bandied about Hyde for decades.); and 3) When parents see Hyde as something for their child to do absent their own participation.  Another way we put it: “School is for kids; Hyde is for families.”

Turning to the student inputs necessary for a home run, Laura again offers three ingredients:

1) Several years ago, former Hyde head of school Don MacMillan boiled success at Hyde down to four words: “Don’t Lie; Don’t Quit.”  Every student we’ve ever seen succeed has found a way to rise above both temptations.  And every student we’ve ever seen fail at Hyde did one of those two things.  (And we have also observed that people who regularly do one of those things will often tend to do the other.)

2) To meet with success at Hyde, a student must learn to persist with enthusiasm.  In the early days, it may be OK to go through the motions, but that will not be sufficient for a home run.

3) While the third ingredient is a bit more complicated, it is critical to an understanding of the perhaps unique reasons for home runs and strikeouts at Hyde.  (After all, aren’t ingredients #1 and #2 necessary for success at… anyplace/anything?)  More to come on this third ingredient…

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld