August 29, 2018

Dear Flint Hill School Families,

My wife, Emily, is the chef in our house and a great one at that! Over the years, I have watched her put together some amazing meals and, many times, I marvel at how she starts with a recipe and then improvises based on what we have in our refrigerator or leftovers in the freezer. However, she always goes back to the original recipe, even for our favorite meals that she has been making for decades. Emily is a cook who likes to follow steps to make sure all the right ingredients are in place to create a delicious meal.

To some degree, parenting is like putting together a great meal. Each moment in life is like an ingredient, and the goal is for our children to reach maturity safely and with a sense of confidence and competence. And yet, we all know that parenting is not easy, and there certainly has never been a recipe for it. There is no definitive book or guide that we were given at the hospital, as we headed home with our babies, that gave us any indication of how to pull all the “ingredients” together. It is quite the adventure that we all experience in our own ways. In particular, with multiple children growing up in the same house, it is always shocking how different the needs are for each one.

At Flint Hill, we take parenting, and you as parents, very seriously. We work hard to make certain that all of us who are here to support you are as open, accessible and visible as possible. We see it as a part of our responsibility in this school family. To that end, we host a series of events, coffees and programs to try to support you in your role as parents. While many of these events may appear to be all about the school, your children and their experience, in actuality they are to serve as resources for you in your journey as parents. It is important that you know what to do, how to respond, and how to answer some of those tough questions that may surface at home or at the dinner table.

Just in this week, Lower and Middle School parents have been with their children meeting advisors and teachers and getting ready for today’s first day of classes. In addition to conferences, we hosted a Volunteer Fair and the fall Uniform Exchange. Tonight, in the Upper School, our Director of Athletics Diana Parente and her team of coaches will host a parent orientation to help get the fall sports season underway.

Tomorrow night, there is an entire evening program devoted to the critical subject of Parenting in the Digital Age. The event is open to all of our parents, to help you to get a better grip on how to deal with this never-ending challenge. Next week, we will host a Parent Volunteer Tea, an Upper School Division Coffee and the first event in my Headmaster’s Parent Discussion Series. And as noted in the All-School section of this newsletter, we are testing the use of webinars for some of our coffees this year to make the valuable information covered during these events even more accessible to our families.

While our divisional coffees often are focused on topics that are specific to each division and program, the coffees I host are broader in scope. The focus of my coffees is to discuss to how, in a world that seems to be out of control at times, we can continue to parent effectively and get our children ready to navigate the world we live in. These are comprehensive, collaborative and critically important discussions — not only do they address the experiences we may have as parents, but they also provide an opportunity to learn from and with other parents. There may be parents with older children who have already been through a certain stage of life, while others can share wisdom about how they handled particular challenges.

I hope you will participate in as many of our coffees as possible this year. My Headmaster’s Parent Discussion Series is something that I personally hope you will attend. While specific grades are listed for each program, they are open to all. I would welcome the chance for us to get to know each other better, to look at parenting from a 30,000-foot view, and to discuss how to deal with life both here at school and away from Flint Hill.

Looking ahead, here is the schedule for my Headmaster’s Parent Discussion Series:

Grades 9-12 Headmaster’s Parent Discussion Series
Thursday, September 6, 8:15 a.m., Upper School Multipurpose Room

Grades 5-8 Headmaster’s Parent Discussion Series
Thursday, September 13, 8:15 a.m., Lower and Middle School Multipurpose Room

Grades JK-4 Headmaster’s Parent Discussion Series
Thursday, September 20, 8:15 a.m., Lower and Middle School Multipurpose Room

Webinar access information for all three events will be shared via email later this week.

Part of the joy of being Huskies is that we know we are part of a team, part of a school family, and we need each other. We need to be there to listen, to share and to offer support and guidance.

With classes all getting underway this week, we are truly engaged in the 2018-2019 school year. We are going to be led by a phenomenal Senior Class. We are going to have some very exciting and significant turning points ahead, and all of it will be done together. I look forward to seeing you at future coffees and school events.

Best wishes to you!

Sincerely,

 

John M. Thomas
Headmaster