Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

November 2012

Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter November 2012

"The Most Important Thing I Learned at Nobles" by Ben Snyder, Head of Upper School

During the first full week of school this fall, Nobles presented the Distinguished Graduate Award to Seth Goldman ’85—founder of Honest Tea. Seth’s accomplishments speak for themselves: after a successful career in socially responsible investment management he started Honest Tea in his kitchen with a few thermoses and the nerve to walk into the buyer at his local Whole Foods store.

We gave Seth 10 minutes to speak in Assembly—which can be an eternity for someone uncomfortable on the stage. That was definitely not the case with Seth. In those few minutes he made two critical impressions on the Nobles student body.

His first message was simply this: “…one can do very well while also doing good,” and that the world needs creative, ethical leaders who can recognize those opportunities and create strong businesses. His goals of supporting sustainable agriculture worldwide and battling the obesity epidemic in the U.S. were messages that resonated with our students (and kept many faculty and students talking throughout the day). Seth spoke clearly and powerfully about how Nobles can help shape those future leaders who will identify opportunities that will have broad economic and social benefit.

Seth’s second message revolved around his Class II wrestling experience at Nobles: “The most important lesson I learned at Nobles in becoming a successful entrepreneur was going 1–10 (with my one win being a forfeit) in my first year of wrestling.” While said with a self-deprecating smile, which elicited some positive response from kids, Seth focused on how that one struggling season had taught him the resilience he needed to bounce back from disappointments that he has faced all along in his life.

Those parents who heard Joann Deak speak will recognize the scientific basis of Seth’s statement—the need for adolescents to immerse themselves in uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations in which they can make some mistakes and then grow from them.

At Nobles we often find young people who don’t want to try something new (a performance, a new sport, a different service project, auditioning for a musical group, heading off on a trip to an unknown part of the country or world) because “I’m not good at it” or “I don’t think I’d be comfortable doing it.” The breadth of our requirements push young people to try new things. Hopefully some of those new experiences will take root and flourish into new interests. However, we also hope that these new experiences will create some disappointments and challenges so that students can develop the grit that will be necessary to persevere through the inevitable challenges that life gives us all.

I hope that in the coming years or months of your child’s life at Nobles, you’ll encourage her or him to try something new. While they may not be so good at it and could take some hard knocks along the way, research (and Seth Goldman) shows that those difficult experiences could be some of the most important events of their high school years.

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