Dear Flint Hill Families,
Welcome back and I hope everyone had an outstanding Spring Break. Since we returned, I have heard all kinds of stories about wonderful times at home, trips, lots of new experiences, and a few folks who just went to their favorite “comfort” space and enjoyed the change of pace. All of that was important for us to get the much-needed rest we will need to replenish our buckets of energy for this fourth and final quarter of the school year.
During the break, while we were on the run visiting with our boys and their families, I also tried to keep up with the news. And I must admit, the story about the college admissions scandal just was overwhelming to hear. We all understand the anxiety that comes with the college application process. It is why we offer the programming that we do, and why members of our own College Counseling Office work so hard to be accessible and available. But it was upsetting to read about families resorting to unethical practices to get their children into elite colleges and universities, while our own Seniors have worked so hard to go through the admission process honestly to earn spots at great schools, around the country and the world.
As I thought about the societal pressure involved in the college application process, I was reminded of one of my favorite lines from “The Wizard of Oz.” Near the very end of the movie, Dorothy asks Glinda the Good Witch for help, because she wants to go home. Glinda looks at her and says, “You don’t need my help. You had the power all along, my dear.” As parents, we need to teach our children that they have the power to achieve what they want to achieve. Whether it is a project in the Lower School, starting a club in Middle School, trying something new in the Upper School, or ultimately, applying for college. They should know that they are capable of doing it on their own, and all the have to do is try.
So what are our responsibilities as parents? Some of it is very simple.
- Keep everything in perspective. I’ve written a lot about perspective, and that concept is critically important here. We need to realize that our children have both strengths and weaknesses. The most important thing is learning how to learn and to have confidence in their ability to learn. We are not a school that is concerned about the bumpers stickers that go on the backs of parents’ cars proclaiming the next college step. We are far more engaged in making sure that our students attend wonderful universities that are the right fit for who they are and what they want to accomplish as individuals. We genuinely believe that we create our own futures, and that is part of the vision that we promote here at school.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of hard work. Sometimes that is the hardest thing to teach, but things are not just given to us in life. Life’s greatest rewards are earned through hard work. You have to schedule things that help you get on the path for success. You have to make a difference. It is all part of the Flint Hill way, but the more we can teach that, the better our children will be.
- Develop grit and resiliency. Life is not easy, and sometimes there are disappointments. We may not win the big game. We may not get a part in the play. We may not get the opportunity to be in a particular class or get the teacher we want or the grade we were hoping for, and of course, the college of our dreams doesn’t always work out, but learning how to deal with failure and disappointment are crucial life skills.
The bottom line is that we have to be continually teaching and learning. It is our job as parents sometimes to be the “good witch” in life. We need to teach our children that they have the power all along and that it is our job to nurture and support them. Somewhere along the way, they can “click their heels” and head home to whatever awaits them in the future.
Hopefully, we will soon be able to enjoy some consistently warm weather, as we head through the spring. It is going to be a very exciting fourth quarter for everyone. Please join me in working together to make it exactly all that we wanted it to be for our great Huskies!
Best wishes to you!
John M. Thomas