Boarding school is not a bad experience after all

Min Atek

What you need to know:

Boarding school tests many children. Suddenly, a child has to manage their resources as an individual and at some point those resources do run out

I remember the scene like it was yesterday. We were seated at the breakfast table together with my aunt and her children. The oldest child had just returned from boarding school the day before.

She was devouring the food like it was about to get off the face of the earth. She volunteered an explanation. Life in boarding school had taught her to value many things, especially her food.

I remembered this exact scene as my own child recently explained how one of his intentions was to eat as much as possible and to gain weight. In his second term of being in boarding school, he appreciates many things.

It is impossible to believe that this is the same fellow who in previous times would say he was not hungry when served a meal. The human mind takes for granted what is easily available. We tend to assume we will always have what we want until we find ourselves in a space where, what we took for granted is not available anymore.

If you have not lived in a place where electricity is on and off for extended hours in a week, you will not be very appreciative when you live in areas with electricity. If you have running water in your taps, you may not appreciate that there are places where people trek many miles in search for clean water.

Boarding school tests many children. Suddenly, a child has to manage their resources as an individual and at some point those resources do run out.

In boarding school, the child is subject to work with what is available. The meals may not necessarily be as palatable or exciting as they are at home. In boarding school, you might have a cold shower whether it is raining or not.

Oftentimes, children who are new to this life call home asking for their resources to be replenished. I cannot tell you the number of times a child has called pleading that I send more pocket money.

Or the times they call saying they are going to die because the breakfast is so little. Completely amused by the change of circumstances and attitude. I often remind them of the food they left at home and how warm the bed is at home.

Perhaps boarding school is not such a bad experience after all. Maybe every child ought to go through boarding school to stretch and strengthen their emotional, physical and social muscles. To flex and flip them into more individual responsibility as well as helping them see the world from a wider angle?

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