In a homily I once heard years ago, the priest referred to a few lines in the Apostles Creed – in essence, that Jesus was born, suffered, and died. He went on to suggest this rather sobering thought: Life is meant to tough and filled with suffering.
Now this could either fill you with dread and gloom or you could accept this as an inevitable part of life which instead, presents challenges and opportunities for real growth and character-building.
As parents, we want to instinctively protect our children from danger, upset and sadness. We stress about it, worry about it, pray about it. We help, we intervene, we meddle in their lives – all in good faith of course – to help them to navigate life’s pitfalls. One of the quandaries facing us is that we want our children to be resilient and self-reliant yet we do just about everything in our power, to remove any scenario which may cause upset or disappointment. Finding the right balance is tricky; and often the “right way” is only revealed to us with the benefit of hindsight.
This is where trusting the school and your children’s teachers comes into play. It’s this simple: if you trust the school with your most precious belonging – your child, then trust them to do what is in the best interests of your child. In the “good old days”, we tell our children…our teachers said “Jump!” and we said, “How high?” and if we came home and told our parents that we got told off, then our parents said things like, “Well, you probably deserved it” or…you got a second dose of punishment. The sentiment back then, is one that we need to adopt – one of trusting the school and importantly, trusting your child to do what is right; not to mention having faith that your child will survive this without your intervention. (And we all know how hard this can be!) We all recognise that the world is far busier, demanding and more stressful at times, than when we were young – so we need to accept that our children need to be stronger and more able to deal with modern living.
Boarding offers your children endless opportunities for growth; from the little things like having to choose their own breakfast, to the bigger things, like choosing what to do in their free time or with whom to play. It also affords them the rare opportunity to deal with issues and conflicts by themselves, in a safe and caring environment. We witness them sorting out disputes, we smile when we hear them compromise and negotiate; and our hearts warm when we see them grow because of a decision that they made on their own. There are few places that are better suited, than living in a boarding community, to help our children learn resilience, self-reliance, and self-confidence.
We understandably want to shelter our children from the stormy weather of life but if they continue to live in a green house, they will never learn to deal with the rain, winds and heat that life throws at them. We need to give our children the chance to strengthen their roots, and firmly plant themselves in the real world, ready and able to take on life and all that it may throw at them.
Challenges…bring them on; our children will be ready for them, thanks largely to your love and support at home abut also the opportunities to grow and experience life at a boarding school – living with others in a safe, caring, and supportive environment which actively and consciously, encourages and fosters a sense of personal growth and the development of character.
HEAD of BOARDING