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Posted December 20, 2004 

December 15, 2004

Over the years I have read your reports and news regarding boarding schools with great interest. Four years ago I turned to your website for help for finding such a school for my then fourteen year old son who was having, to put it mildly, a very difficult time navigating through his early adolescence. In fact, our whole family was in a stage of general malaise and meltdown. Encouraged by not only the information we found in your reports but also by attending various school introduction receptions where we live in New York City, we came upon The Hyde School. The families we encountered at one such reception encouraged us to visit this unique school. Our lives were about to change in ways we could have never imagined.

My son entered the Hyde School as a ninth grader with a bad attitude for just about everything. While I thought I had been doing what I needed as a parent and finding the right guidance and support for my entire family, I have come to realize over the last four years of his attendance at Hyde just how much help I needed in the parenting process. Hyde's basic promise of a family based character education could only be fulfilled, we found, if we were willing to undergo changes that resonated to our core.

The changes did not come easily. In the early years of his Hyde schooling, our son resisted the challenges presented to him and very often sought the comfort of what was familiar to him, that being, mine and especially my wife's willingness to allow him what he now acknowledges were "back doors" from taking genuine, personal responsibility for his own actions in life. In the Hyde environment of challenge and support, my wife and I finally found the courage to take a long and hard look at our own lives and the potential for bettering our marriage. We came to believe a central tenet of Hyde's philosophy that our son would not begin to make the changes he needed in himself unless we were willing to look at the changes we needed to make in our lives as well. Hyde has demanded a great degree of family involvement while encouraging each family member to take accountability for our own actions or lack thereof. Hyde is not about mere behavior modification but wholly concerned with the transformation most families must go through after they arrive in order to reach the best potential of each family member. That transformation takes time and it is not easy for those who are not willing to take an honest and critical self evaluation of how they are leading their own lives and recognizing the impact they have on the family dynamic.

I remember at the Hyde reception I attended hearing an expression to the affect that, "the truth will set you free- - finding it will make you miserable". That phrase has stuck with me throughout our years at Hyde and has greatly helped me in watching the pain of my son's evolving struggle with his learning attitude and relationship to his peers and family members. The truth I can happily report at this time is that he has truly struggled his way into becoming a learner, a leader in the campus community and headed for a four year college. Where he once was a "labeled" child who often quit with the "support" that he was burdened with a variety of learning disabilities, he has now managed to earn consideration for the captaincy of several of Hyde's sports teams, and, most importantly, earned the respect of his peers and Hyde faculty. Hyde has consistently been more interested in his potential and his giving of his best effort than in what he had previously been told he could not accomplish. He acknowledges that Hyde demanded much from him, set his expectations higher than he ever could have on his own, with the result that he has the freedom to run his own life.

The Hyde School should be considered by every parent who honestly wants the opportunity to set their child on a journey of self exploration and character building and, in particular, by those parents who care to reap the benefits of joining that journey.

Oz and Mona Hanley
New York, New York

Copyright © 2004, Woodbury Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(This article may not be reproduced without written approval of the publisher.)

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