Dear Flint Hill School Families,

As I got out of my car on Monday morning, I could have sworn I heard a whistle in the distance. The sharp, crisp sound flooded me with great memories of my days playing soccer and running track and field in high school and college. The whistle at the start of a game was always significant to me, and the starter gun at the beginning of each race, when I ran high hurdles, always signaled, “This is it. Ready! Set! Go!” Practices and drills also were important, and all of them led us to a very important moment — the start of the game or race. On Monday, we started our own race here at Flint Hill.

Deep in their minds, I am sure our students have heard that same whistle this week.  For all of them this is a new school year, a new grade and/or a new school. They all have new classes and new teachers. They have new friends to make and old friends with whom to reconnect. During the course of this year, there will be endless surprises, discoveries and more adventures than they could ever imagine. That’s what the joy of going to school and the concept of “the game” are all about. In a game, you are constantly learning while all the pieces are moving. In sports, you learn to anticipate, create and plan for the next step.

Our children will be asked to do far more this year than they have ever dreamt possible, but they will do it with our faculty, staff, and you as parents, right by their side. As much as I love the start of school and value and respect the role we play, I always have to remind myself that the students — not us — are the ones playing the game. That concept is easier said than done sometimes. In the game of the school year, and ultimately, of life, as parents and role models, we must understand our roles as spectators, coaches and officials, rather than players.

In the literal sense, I love watching our Huskies participate in athletic games. Whether it is out on the fields or on the courts, I can’t sit in the stands. I have to pace and remain in constant motion, even if it is only in my head. I think through — along with the players — what is happening during the course of each game. It is probably why I am not a good conversationalist while watching sports. But I am also very aware of the fact that I can’t run out onto the field or court to help them, and I am sure many of you feel the same way. It makes me sad when I read the popular literature that shares horror stories of “helicopter” or “snowplow” parents, even at the college level now, who have trouble with these boundaries. It is sad, and ultimately destructive for a child, sending the message, “You can’t play this game. I have to play it for you!”

Fortunately, I don’t see that here at Flint Hill, and and I hope we never do. I believe there is a good reason why we don’t see that type of behavior here. Our faculty, staff, coaches and parents, all work hard to build a level of trust and support between each other. We listen to each other. We try to be responsive even if a decision reached is not one that everyone agrees with. But we all know that every decision is made with our students’ best interest at heart and, in many cases, years of experience behind it. It is hard to be a coach sometimes, but we can do it. And our students, at every age can do what they are asked to do as well.

As this exciting year gets underway, let’s all help our youngsters enjoy the experience of them doing things for themselves. With our support, guidance, patience and unconditional love, we can cheer them on from the “sidelines” as they continue to build their confidence and competence through each day, week and quarter of the school year. They have a tremendous “game” ahead of them and the growth and development we will all see by the end of the year will amaze us all!! That is the joy of a strong educational experience. I am so glad that we are finally at this point of the year, and I am sure you are as well. It is time to get this game underway!


All the best for a tremendous school year! Go Huskies!!


John M. Thomas