The Biggest Job We'll Ever Have: The Hyde School Program for Character-Based Education and Parenting [NOOK Book]

Overview

ATTITUDE OVER APTITUDE.
EFFORT OVER ACHIEVEMENT.
CHARACTER OVER TALENT.

For families, educators, corporations, and communities, The Biggest Job We'll Ever Have is nothing less than a new paradigm for reconnecting education with core values. With more than thirty-five years' experience at Hyde, an organization of internationally known, award-winning schools and programs, ...
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The Biggest Job We'll Ever Have: The Hyde School Program for Character-Based Education and Parenting

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Overview

ATTITUDE OVER APTITUDE.
EFFORT OVER ACHIEVEMENT.
CHARACTER OVER TALENT.

For families, educators, corporations, and communities, The Biggest Job We'll Ever Have is nothing less than a new paradigm for reconnecting education with core values. With more than thirty-five years' experience at Hyde, an organization of internationally known, award-winning schools and programs, Laura and Malcolm Gauld argue persuasively that true education for our children springs not just from seeking good grades and achievements but from reestablishing a true commitment to character, attitude, and a sense of purpose.
The Hyde program emphasizes ten core beliefs -- the school's 10 Priorities -- that address how families can find the right balance between character and achievement. The results have been nothing short of astonishing: Children of all abilities and from every background have succeeded far beyond any expectations of them, both personally and academically, thanks to what they and their families have learned at Hyde.
Unlike other education books that focus on the child, The Biggest Job We'll Ever Have focuses on a child's primary teacher -- the parent. The Gaulds explain that parents have an enormous impact on how their children approach education and life. They describe how parents can enhance their children's education by improving family dynamics and introducing honesty into all aspects of family life. And they detail the 10 Priorities clearly and logically, so that any family can embrace them.
But that's only part of this book's appeal. Perhaps its true power comes from the dozens of Hyde parents and students who willingly share their own remarkable stories -- honest, funny, sad, moving, provocative -- that attest to the transformational power of the Hyde philosophy.
Being a parent and a child today isn't easy; so much that we thought was important simply is not. As parents and educators, Laura and Malcolm Gauld believe that the way to motivate kids and build stronger families is to focus on identifying what is truly important. In The Biggest Job We'll Ever Have, they do exactly that.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
When Joe Gauld opened the first Hyde campus in Maine, he believed education should encompass more than the basic academic fundamentals; he wanted his students to develop character. More than two decades later, the Hyde schools have garnered many accolades for helping "problem" students turn around and attend college. This phenomenal success is due in part the curriculum's requirement that parents be deeply involved in their children's academic and moral education. Most parents would agree that they value honesty, responsibility, and accountability in their family life. But are those expectations being met? This is the challenge extended by The Biggest Job We'll Ever Have.

Gauld's son, Malcolm, and daughter-in-law, Laura -- both Hyde teachers -- have outlined the basic Hyde philosophy to help parents and their teenagers learn character together, in the home. Even if you have an idea of what perfect family life looks like, the Gaulds warn that you aren't looking at the big picture. The first step, they write, is to "let go of the Hallmark fantasy."

Each chapter addresses one of the school's Ten Priorities, which include "Attitude over Aptitude," "Value Success and Failure," and "Allow Obstacles to Become Opportunities" and includes family exercises to help these priorities become part of the home. At times, some of their suggestions seem quite rigorous, but the authors state loudly and clearly that "this book will not appeal to the parent seeking a 'quick fix.' Parenting is hard work." And so is building character. Armed with the information provided by the Gaulds, readers will find that becoming a healthier, better-functioning family is certainly worth the effort. And the payoff is raising children who are fully engaged in their education as well as their personal development. (Jessica Leigh Lebos)

Publishers Weekly
The formation of character is an elusive thing; despite concerned parenting, good schools and all the best intentions, parents worry about everything from insubordination and bad grades to hard drugs. According to the Gaulds (authors, teachers and alternative education proponents), the "biggest job we'll ever have" is developing positive habits of mind and behavior in our young. According to these authors, it is hard, it is doable and it is never too late to achieve "exceptional parenting." This how-to book offers 10 commonsense principles of character education, enlivening them with anecdotes gathered from thousands of parents and children, as well as with their own family stories. The authors accompany each rule with family exercises and activities, some of which seem contrived (e.g., writing down strengths and weaknesses; keeping a log of "mandatory fun activities"). The authors are relentlessly upbeat all the stories here are triumphs, implying that if parents simply apply the Gaulds' formula, they will achieve "personal and family excellence." This book falls into the camp that claims that the problems of society are with individuals, mostly due to flawed parenting. Hence, solutions lie in "fixing" the individuals and their families. What's missing from this perspective (and from this book) is an analysis of the social, economic and cultural factors that may cause the alienation, boredom, underachievement and family dysfunction that constitute "poor character." Scholars and educators hoping for an in-depth understanding of the complex dimensions of character education will not find it here, although families seeking a self-help boost and some informed coaching may find useful tips. (Mar. 19) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Since its founding in Maine in 1966, the Hyde School has provided an educational alternative for students having difficulty in the public school system. Hyde leaders Laura and Malcolm Gauld here tell the story of the school's success by focusing on the character education at the core of its philosophy and on its commitment to involving the entire family in the educational process. Readers interested in learning about classroom life at Hyde will be disappointed, however, as this book focuses more on the parenting lessons that Hyde provides both on campus and as part of its "Biggest Job" workshops. As the authors write, "parents are the primary teachers and the home is the primary classroom." Hence, this book is more about parenting than it is about schooling. Followers of recent calls for virtue-centric education, such as those by former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett, may be intrigued by the Hyde model (which has recently been adopted by a public charter school in Washington, DC). It may also prove appealing to the many advocates for an increased role for parents in the education of their children. For all collections. Scott Walter, Washington State Univ. Lib., Pullman Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
Patrick Lencioni
president, The Table Group, and author of The Five Temptations of a CEO This is one of the most profound and important books I have ever read. If every parent could apply these principles, not only would their children and families be healthier, but so would our society. A must-read for anyone interested in overcoming mediocrity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743238144
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 4/12/2002
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 652,364
  • File size: 578 KB

Meet the Author


Malcolm Gauld is the president and chief executive officer of the Hyde Schools, overseeing Hyde's two boarding campuses in Bath, Maine, and Woodstock, Connecticut, and public schools in New Haven, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.
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Read an Excerpt


Introduction: To the Reader
Exceptional Parenting

It is hard.

It is doable.

It is never too late.

We are the parents of three school-aged children. We began our professional careers as teachers over twenty years ago and have spent the years since working with hundreds of teenagers and their families. The experiences we have had and the lessons we have learned in both roles, as parents and as teachers, form the heart of this book.

The bottom-line point we make in these pages is simple. We believe that parents are the primary teachers and the home is the primary classroom. The job of parenting asks us to accept and honor a commitment to develop the best in our children, the best in our families, and the best in ourselves. No job is more important than parenting, and while most people we talk with profess to agree, we have observed that many parents do not organize and prioritize their lives in accordance with this notion. It is our hope that this book and its 10 Priorities can help parents focus their efforts by presenting a program that has provided meaningful experiences and valuable lessons to hundreds of parents.

Many of these experiences and lessons have occurred at the Hyde Schools, a group of schools and programs dedicated to character development and family growth. Both of us graduated from Hyde's original campus in Bath, Maine, in the 1970s. Our time there as students was life-changing. Our teachers challenged us to test our character and we were rewarded with a sense of purpose that has guided us as individuals, as educators, and as parents ever since. Today we serve as leaders of the Hyde organization: Malcolm as president and Laura as director of the Biggest Job workshops, a national parenting program. In these roles we strive to offer the same challenges and rewards to students, parents, and teachers in a variety of settings. Whether at a boarding school in rural New England or an urban public K-12 school in Washington, D.C., it has been deeply gratifying to see the promise of genuine character development unfold for American kids and families from all walks of life.

Although this book has been written with parents foremost in our minds, it is actually for anyone committed to the personal growth and character development of children. In attempting to identify those families that will find it especially meaningful, we are reminded of a one-page piece written by Hyde students in 1970. Entitled "Statement to the Prospective Student," it has since been offered to hundreds of students and families considering a Hyde education. It is intended to help families answer the simple question: Is Hyde right for me? The statement begins:

If you have the desire to take an honest look at yourself and are willing to commit yourself to the pursuit of excellence, then Hyde may be for you.

Later the statement notes:

If you are happy and content with yourself, then Hyde may not be for you. You must want to change and grow.

Near the conclusion, the central point of the piece is made:

As a Hyde student, you should accept the following premise as your basic responsibility: that you make and keep a total commitment to pursue excellence.

Such a commitment is not easy to make, and, once made, it requires effort to keep. We feel that we have made such a commitment. That is why we are at Hyde School and why we have experienced growth.

This book is offered in the spirit of this statement and is designed to be especially helpful to those committed to the pursuit of personal and family excellence. In accordance with the statement, those parents who are happy and content with themselves probably will not find it as useful as those motivated by a deep desire to change and grow. The book calls upon families to make and keep a total commitment to pursue excellence while at the same time it recognizes that each family's goals and objectives will vary. It comes with the fair warning that this commitment is difficult to make and maintain. As parents and teachers, we have made such a commitment and we strive to keep it on a daily basis. This commitment and the accompanying growth we have experienced in the form of various ups and downs have fueled our motivation to write this book.

Our personal and professional experiences have taught us three things about this commitment:

1. It is hard.

2. It is doable.

3. It is never too late.

To add a fourth: It is never too early.

This book and its 10 Priorities outline and support our belief that, at any age, a person's character is more important than his or her innate abilities. Who we are is more important than what we can do. If asked, most people would agree that the right attitude and a commitment to principles are keys to a fulfilling life rich with achievement, strong personal relationships, and a sense of purpose. Unfortunately, in today's results-driven culture, the element of character is overlooked more than those same people would care to admit. How else can we explain the dramatic rise in cheating in schools across our country? How else can we explain the students who, often on the advice of adult role models, might choose to avoid taking a particularly challenging advanced high school course because the low grade they might receive would hurt their chances for admission to an elite college? The logic of this choice is understandable, but it most certainly is not aimed at developing the student's character.

The "results" culture that prevails in most schools is damaging to students in a number of ways. Those who try hard but don't have the aptitude of the class stars come to feel as if they're fighting a losing battle and begin to ask "Why bother?" Meanwhile, the top performers gain a false sense of accomplishment when they are not challenged to explore their full potential. Across the board, these teenagers sense the hypocrisy at work and become alienated and apathetic. Creativity, curiosity, and enthusiasm flag, and restless energy looks for less constructive outlets.

Similar troubles emerge in the home when the principles that most parents believe they value -- honesty, responsibility, accountability -- don't actually govern family life. In fact, it's often difficult to determine which ideas do lie at the heart of a family, since many of us are so focused on avoiding the mistakes our parents made that we unwittingly neglect to devise a positive parenting plan of our own. In a sense, we're steering without a rudder, and each time the desire to "get along," to placate a volatile family member, or to quickly repair a problem that someone else has created overrides our purported principles, parents and children veer farther off course. Cynicism and hostility creep in along with secretiveness, making each new challenge that much more difficult to face.

In visualizing a guide for parents, we imagined the metaphor of a map and compass. When hiking in the woods, a map and compass, working hand in hand, are essential tools. A map without a compass is of limited value because we are then forced to guess our direction. A compass without a map not only leaves the destination in doubt, it leaves us unable to identify and connect with critical landmarks along the way. We not only need both, we need both simultaneously. Thus, our book is intended to offer a philosophical framework, the "compass," accompanied by a set of ten parenting Priorities, the "map."

This book parallels the program followed in the Biggest Job workshops, a program we created and have presented to thousands of parents across the country. We call these workshops the Biggest Job for two reasons. First, we want to clearly establish our belief that parenting is a very difficult undertaking. In fact, we sometimes tell parents: "Even when you do it right, you will feel like a sucked lemon!" Thus, we offer fair warning that this book will not appeal to the parent seeking a "quick fix." Parenting is hard work. However, we have observed that anyone with a genuine commitment can be pretty good at it.

The second reason for the title Biggest Job derives from a regular theme of the many interviews and conferences we have conducted with students and their parents over the years. In these sessions we have repeatedly observed a phenomenon we initially regarded as a fascinating irony but have come to expect as a common occurrence. Sitting before us are men and women who, on the one hand, are confident, highly competent, and very successful professionals, yet, on the other hand, are uncertain, perhaps even frightened, parents. We often say to them, "What works at the office may not work at home. No matter how successful you have become in your professional lives, remember that this is the big leagues. This is the biggest job you will ever have."

Laura and Malcolm Gauld

Bath, Maine

April 2001

Copyright © 2002 by Malcolm Gauld and Laura Gauld

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Table of Contents


Contents

Foreword

To the Reader

PART ONE: CHARACTER: SOME FUNDAMENTALS

"Character Is Inspired; It Is Not Imparted"

"You're a Bright Kid Who Doesn't Apply Himself" and Other Hollow Phrases

The Hyde Schools: Our Laboratory

Why Things Are the Way They Are

Unique Potential -- the Key to Our Destiny

Do You Live on the Right-Hand Side of the Page?

PART TWO: THE 10 PRIORITIES

Get Your Priorities Straight

  1. Truth over Harmony
  2. Principles over Rules
  3. Attitude over Aptitude
  4. Set High Expectations and Let Go of Outcomes
  5. Value Success and Failure
  6. Allow Obstacles to Become Opportunities
  7. Take Hold and Let Go
  8. Create a Character Culture
  9. Humility to Ask for and Accept Help
  10. Inspiration: Job 1

Conclusion

Acknowledgments

Index

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Introduction

Introduction: To the Reader

We are the parents of three school-aged children. We began our professional careers as teachers over twenty years ago and have spent the years since working with hundreds of teenagers and their families. The experiences we have had and the lessons we have learned in both roles, as parents and as teachers, form the heart of this book.

The bottom-line point we make in these pages is simple. We believe that parents are the primary teachers and the home is the primary classroom. The job of parenting asks us to accept and honor a commitment to develop the best in our children, the best in our families, and the best in ourselves. No job is more important than parenting, and while most people we talk with profess to agree, we have observed that many parents do not organize and prioritize their lives in accordance with this notion. It is our hope that this book and its 10 Priorities can help parents focus their efforts by presenting a program that has provided meaningful experiences and valuable lessons to hundreds of parents.

Many of these experiences and lessons have occurred at the Hyde Schools, a group of schools and programs dedicated to character development and family growth. Both of us graduated from Hyde's original campus in Bath, Maine, in the 1970s. Our time there as students was life-changing. Our teachers challenged us to test our character and we were rewarded with a sense of purpose that has guided us as individuals, as educators, and as parents ever since. Today we serve as leaders of the Hyde organization: Malcolm as president and Laura as director of the Biggest Job workshops, a national parenting program. In these roles we strive to offer the same challenges and rewards to students, parents, and teachers in a variety of settings. Whether at a boarding school in rural New England or an urban public K-12 school in Washington, D.C., it has been deeply gratifying to see the promise of genuine character development unfold for American kids and families from all walks of life.

Although this book has been written with parents foremost in our minds, it is actually for anyone committed to the personal growth and character development of children. In attempting to identify those families that will find it especially meaningful, we are reminded of a one-page piece written by Hyde students in 1970. Entitled "Statement to the Prospective Student," it has since been offered to hundreds of students and families considering a Hyde education. It is intended to help families answer the simple question: Is Hyde right for me? The statement begins:

If you have the desire to take an honest look at yourself and are willing to commit yourself to the pursuit of excellence, then Hyde may be for you.

Later the statement notes:

If you are happy and content with yourself, then Hyde may not be for you. You must want to change and grow.

Near the conclusion, the central point of the piece is made:

As a Hyde student, you should accept the following premise as your basic responsibility: that you make and keep a total commitment to pursue excellence.
Such a commitment is not easy to make, and, once made, it requires effort to keep. We feel that we have made such a commitment. That is why we are at Hyde School and why we have experienced growth.

This book is offered in the spirit of this statement and is designed to be especially helpful to those committed to the pursuit of personal and family excellence. In accordance with the statement, those parents who are happy and content with themselves probably will not find it as useful as those motivated by a deep desire to change and grow. The book calls upon families to make and keep a total commitment to pursue excellence while at the same time it recognizes that each family's goals and objectives will vary. It comes with the fair warning that this commitment is difficult to make and maintain. As parents and teachers, we have made such a commitment and we strive to keep it on a daily basis. This commitment and the accompanying growth we have experienced in the form of various ups and downs have fueled our motivation to write this book.

Our personal and professional experiences have taught us three things about this commitment:

  1. It is hard.
  2. It is doable.
  3. It is never too late.

To add a fourth: It is never too early.

This book and its 10 Priorities outline and support our belief that, at any age, a person's character is more important than his or her innate abilities. Who we are is more important than what we can do. If asked, most people would agree that the right attitude and a commitment to principles are keys to a fulfilling life rich with achievement, strong personal relationships, and a sense of purpose. Unfortunately, in today's results-driven culture, the element of character is overlooked more than those same people would care to admit. How else can we explain the dramatic rise in cheating in schools across our country? How else can we explain the students who, often on the advice of adult role models, might choose to avoid taking a particularly challenging advanced high school course because the low grade they might receive would hurt their chances for admission to an elite college? The logic of this choice is understandable, but it most certainly is not aimed at developing the student's character.

The "results" culture that prevails in most schools is damaging to students in a number of ways. Those who try hard but don't have the aptitude of the class stars come to feel as if they're fighting a losing battle and begin to ask "Why bother?" Meanwhile, the top performers gain a false sense of accomplishment when they are not challenged to explore their full potential. Across the board, these teenagers sense the hypocrisy at work and become alienated and apathetic. Creativity, curiosity, and enthusiasm flag, and restless energy looks for less constructive outlets.

Similar troubles emerge in the home when the principles that most parents believe they value -- honesty, responsibility, accountability -- don't actually govern family life. In fact, it's often difficult to determine which ideas do lie at the heart of a family, since many of us are so focused on avoiding the mistakes our parents made that we unwittingly neglect to devise a positive parenting plan of our own. In a sense, we're steering without a rudder, and each time the desire to "get along," to placate a volatile family member, or to quickly repair a problem that someone else has created overrides our purported principles, parents and children veer farther off course. Cynicism and hostility creep in along with secretiveness, making each new challenge that much more difficult to face.

In visualizing a guide for parents, we imagined the metaphor of a map and compass. When hiking in the woods, a map and compass, working hand in hand, are essential tools. A map without a compass is of limited value because we are then forced to guess our direction. A compass without a map not only leaves the destination in doubt, it leaves us unable to identify and connect with critical landmarks along the way. We not only need both, we need both simultaneously. Thus, our book is intended to offer a philosophical framework, the "compass," accompanied by a set of ten parenting Priorities, the "map."

This book parallels the program followed in the Biggest Job workshops, a program we created and have presented to thousands of parents across the country. We call these workshops the Biggest Job for two reasons. First, we want to clearly establish our belief that parenting is a very difficult undertaking. In fact, we sometimes tell parents: "Even when you do it right, you will feel like a sucked lemon!" Thus, we offer fair warning that this book will not appeal to the parent seeking a "quick fix." Parenting is hard work. However, we have observed that anyone with a genuine commitment can be pretty good at it.

The second reason for the title Biggest Job derives from a regular theme of the many interviews and conferences we have conducted with students and their parents over the years. In these sessions we have repeatedly observed a phenomenon we initially regarded as a fascinating irony but have come to expect as a common occurrence. Sitting before us are men and women who, on the one hand, are confident, highly competent, and very successful professionals, yet, on the other hand, are uncertain, perhaps even frightened, parents. We often say to them, "What works at the office may not work at home. No matter how successful you have become in your professional lives, remember that this is the big leagues. This is the biggest job you will ever have."

Laura and Malcolm Gauld
Bath, Maine
April 2001

Copyright ©(2002) by Laura and Malcolm Gauld.

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2005

    Not the Whole Story

    This book paints an appealing image of an enlightened academic setting that involves the whole family in teaching positive character traits. However, our actual experience as parents of a Hyde School (Woodstock, Conn.) student showed us that quite the opposite is true. In our view, it is ironic that a school whose mission is character education misrepresents itself in this book, providing a misleading, partial picture of what actually occurs at Hyde. At Hyde we encountered a number of staff who routinely shame, blame, intimidate, name call, and humiliate students and parents, all in the name of ¿character education.¿ Paradoxically, these behaviors are the antithesis of the values the authors claim Hyde teaches. This book does not sufficiently acknowledge that the vast majority of the students enrolled at Hyde have been, in the words of senior administrators who spoke at meetings we attended there, ¿deported¿ by parents no longer able to contain their teens at home; these parents hoped Hyde would ¿fix¿ the child, ¿turn the child around.¿ The Hyde student body is not composed solely of willingly disobedient teens. We encountered a significant number of vulnerable teens at Hyde with documented mental health diagnoses that we think the school is not equipped to address; other than a nurse whose job is to dispense medications, there were no trained, licensed professional mental health staff. Routine use of enforced sleep deprivation as a punishment for ¿character flaws¿ exacerbates these students¿ mental health symptoms. At Hyde, bona fide mental health struggles are typically viewed merely as intentional misbehavior, not as legitimate medical issues requiring special care. A youngster with a mental health diagnosis is struggling with more than just ¿character flaws¿ (although we agree with the authors and Hyde staff that character issues sometimes need to be addressed as well). Paradoxically, while the book says the school involves parents in the character education process, in our experience at the school parents are often deliberately kept out of the loop. When parents question the school¿s approach, they are accused of not ¿buying into the Hyde process,¿ and this in itself is defined as a character flaw; a parent¿s question is not treated as a legitimate concern worthy of discussion. At Hyde, in our experience, one size is supposed to fit all; it¿s the Hyde way or the highway. There are, of course, Hyde families who love the school and feel helped by Hyde¿s aggressively confrontational approach. Our concern is that this book by Hyde personnel camouflages and fundamentally misrepresents what actually goes on at the school. In our view, the book is a thinly disguised, misleading recruitment device.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2002

    Easy Read with Great Explainations

    I have worked alot on my parenting skills -often to no avail. This book is clear, common sense that gets back to the basics. It shows a clear path for parents to work towards. It makes it clear that each child, parent, and family are unique but need the same thing - A vision and a plan. We get so caught up in dealing with the issues we forget why it's an issue. I have already recommended the book to two friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2008

    Parent help

    This book provides 10 principles by which you can run your family instead of rules which can become walls that some kids just can't help but want to break. The Gaulds provide many personal and realistic examples of situations where family principles can move everyone forward. The Gaulds are associated with the Hyde Schools which use character values such as humility, truth, courage and conscience as the backbone of their curriculum, and they provide many examples parents at those schools have experienced. Parenting is the biggest job you'll ever have and this book provides a process to help you do that.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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