Our son, Peter, began working with John Mohrbacher as a high school freshman. At that time, we had never heard of the phrase “executive functioning” but we knew that Peter was not enjoying the academic success in high school that he expected or desired. After just one meeting with Peter, I felt that John completely understood Peter and what it was that was keeping him from reaching his full potential. Most importantly, Peter really liked and trusted John as we did. Although it’s been four years, I will never forget some of what John imparted to Peter — his phrase “worry more before an academic event so that you need to worry less afterwards ” really struck a chord with Peter. He desperately wanted to do well but did not have the organizational tools to help him when he had multiple academic events to prepare for. John helped Peter figure out when to start preparing so that he had enough time to get the job done well. He gave us critical advice as well. We had been encouraging Peter by telling him that we knew he was “smart” and could do the work and be successful. John told us that this was actually harmful to Peter because his outcomes did not match up to what we were telling him so that we were inadvertently putting more pressure on him. This advice was very helpful to us and, as we began to see the positive results from the work that they were doing together, we put our complete faith in John’s teachings and methods.

This year, Peter will graduate from college with honors in Computer Science and Economics. We know that his success in high school and college have much to do with the work that John did to help him with his organizational and preparation skills, his confidence and his focus. Peter now understands how important the process is in ensuring the success of any endeavor. He takes pride in his work knowing that he has given himself enough time, has asked the right questions and has the skills necessary to do the best job he can. We are forever indebted to John and the work he did in unlocking these concepts for our son.

Dale R.

I am writing you this note following a presentation I saw at work yesterday. The presenter was Dr. Robert Brooks and his presentation was on Growth Mindset. His main point centered on ‘charismatic adults,’ whom provide energy and strength for students. Throughout the presentation he gave numerous examples of his own and others writing to past teachers and individuals who positively affected their lives. Thus, I am writing to you as I remember how you affected my life in a positive manner.

It was not until I met you that I found myself curious and interested, and that it was okay to be curious. I remember sitting with you in Harvard, MA while you opened a giant encyclopaedic-esque book through which we read anything of interest; I strongly remember the topic of piracy. Although I kept my bad habits until I was nineteen, I turned everything around after that and concentrated solely on schoolwork. I declared my major as History at first. What better field to study in than one in which you learn about the world and its happenings throughout time. I hope this message finds you well. I think of you whenever I find something interesting or find myself perusing Wikipedia, article to article, satisfying my curiosity. I graduated from Umass Amherst in May 2014 and I have been working in the Special Education department in a school district in Orange, MA. I couldn’t have found a better position than one in which I am able to help students while simultaneously learning new topics myself, everyday.

After changing my bad habits and declaring history as my field of study I decided to expand my studies and interests. I became close with several professors who encouraged me to study the Middle East. This prompted me to spend a summer in Istanbul, Turkey studying followed by a semester in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Throughout these terms I spent significant time traveling internationally and learning and observing as much as I could. And, alas, I am still itching to learn and experience more. I just returned from a summer in Nazareth, Israel working at a youth hostel and now I am preparing my graduate applications for a degree in Library and Information Science.

I hope that this message finds you well and that you are still instilling curiosity in your students.

Walker B.

John,

Thirteen years ago, or so, you helped a family face their worst fears, as they watched their son struggle with the pressures of growing up. You gave them encouragement citing the “islands of competence” in their son’s character. You were the first to educate us on the role that ‘anxiety’ and ‘slow-processing-speed’ can play on a child who wants to succeed in today’s competitive culture. You offered useful parenting strategies that emphasized acknowledging the reality of feelings. You played countless games of whiffle-ball, losing pocketfuls of quarters to a boy who loved to swing a bat. And, you shared yourself, which made all the difference!

Our challenges did not end with your interventions, but they gave us a foundation and perspective to continue to pursue the support our son needed. He finished public grade school and went on to a local independent day school. In 10th grade, he stopped going to school and effectively ‘dropped-out’. He took the year off, worked construction, rehabbing two-family homes and learning some trade skills.

Remembering a school that you had recommended, he completed high school at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall, captained the varsity soccer and ultimate Frisbee teams, graduated with honors, and was accepted to Northeastern University, with a merit scholarship. Two years into his Civil Engineering major, he switched to Business. After three formative co-op experiences he graduated from college and is pursuing his long-held passion with a career in Construction, working with a prestigious residential contractor. Congrats to him! Congrats to you! We wanted you to know the positive difference you made to one family and to one boy’s life. Thank you!

Peter & Charlotte M.

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