I am happy to report that I have survived my first parent-teacher conference from the other side of the desk. Our son, Ben, is a kindergartner, so Jennifer and I reserved our slot and spent some time discussing with each other what we hoped to hear and what we wanted to share with his teacher, Mrs. Bernick. Jennifer had to remind me to resurrect the “growth mindset.” This was helpful, until Board Chair Mark Russell sent me an email saying, “I hope Ben made Dean’s list.”
Like most parents, we learned that Ben is making his way this year, and it has been great fun to watch him grow and develop in a new environment. We’re trying hard at home to praise his effort and persistence, and to encourage him to try activities that might be challenging and difficult. It’s a long road for any parent, but the parents of graduating seniors always tell me every spring that “it goes so fast.”
Knowing that the school year is long but that “it goes so fast,” the growth mindset is an anchor for us on the faculty side. One new teacher wrote me earlier this year that what matters most is not “where I start, but where I finish.” I could not agree more, and this is right in line with seniors who are putting their whole Randolph experience into perspective as they prepare to graduate and go off to college.
Earlier in the week we began a new tradition at Randolph by hosting “Boo-Hoo/Woo-Hoo,” a reception for parents of students who graduated last year from Randolph and who have made the entry into college life. It was great to re-connect them to the Randolph community, and to hear so consistently that their children are thriving in college and have found themselves very well prepared for the challenges they face and the opportunities they enjoy.
Rusty Allen, Amber Rego, and I got the same message when we traveled up to Nashville on Tuesday to visit with our alumni, many of whom are winding down their undergraduate experiences at Vanderbilt and looking forward to future challenges. They, too, think back on the Randolph experience with fondness and gratitude.
In the fall of 2022, if we stay focused on the growth mindset and encourage it in our children, I am confident that Jennifer and I will be saying the same thing about Ben and how well Randolph helped prepare him for the next step in his life.