When I mention my fifteen-year-old son is going to Military school, most parents give me their sympathy look. “Oh, you poor thing, your son has behavioral problems.”
I know this look and before they utter a word, I add, “He wants to go. It was his idea.”
Why do so many in the U.S. perceive these schools as a place to send “bad” kids who need discipline and view military school as a form of punishment? Can it not be regarded as a reward? It certainly costs enough to be considered a huge reward in receiving a better education.
I remember asking my own parents to allow me to attend boarding school in England, when I turned fourteen. Why? Because my school in Paris did not offer the subjects I wished to study. There was also another reason; perhaps the same reason why my son wants to leave home.
As an only child, I felt the need to get away from home. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the close relationship I had with my parents, especially my mother, but in order to grow up and make my own decisions, I felt the need to get away. I think my almost sixteen-year-old feels the same. Now that his two older brothers are out of the house, he misses the camaraderie he had with them. Living with other young cadets, will fill him with
long-lasting friendships and a sense of purpose: belonging to a group that studies together with duties and sporting activities on a daily basis.
I am disappointed with public education in California. 2011 is going to be worse than 2010 due to lack of funding and increasing classroom sizes, 40+ students and teachers who no longer have time to motivate those who are average. My youngest son is one of those, and I hate to see his growing lack of interest in school and college. Disgruntled teachers are not going to create a positive school environment, and I cannot blame them.
Over the Easter holidays, my son and I flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and drove 200 miles, southeast to Roswell where the New Mexico Military Institute is located. Driving along a ninety-five mile stretch of road without a gas station, building, or human, with winds blowing my car off the road, made for an eerie start to our adventure.
I would not call Roswell a pretty town. It’s isolated, dry and spooky, and apart from NMMI, and the UFO museum, there really isn’t too much to see. (That’s my opinion.)
A replica of an alien found near Roswell on a ranch from UFO crash in July 1947.
After a morning at the UFO museum, my son had a one o’clock interview and test at NMMI. He passed the entrance exam, and I was pleased to hear that NMMI checks students are not being forced to go there against their will.
Ninety-five percent of all NMMI graduates, both high school and junior college, go on to premier 4-year colleges and universities such as Princeton, Cornell, Stanford, Texas, Temple, VMI, The Citadel, and the nation’s Service Academies.
This is therefore not a school that pushes Cadets to enter the military. The first 21 days are not easy: no electronics, only contact with parents is via good old-fashioned letter writing. They wear uniform, they learn structure and discipline, they have study hall every night, and they also have to earn privileges. What a concept in today’s world of entitlement. The school is co-ed, and they have a beautiful gym and game room for kids to enjoy. My son can paintball every afternoon, as a sporting activity. This is his passion.
So I hope he thrives during the last two years of high school and learns the importance of receiving a good education, despite his desire to become a professional paintballer.
What are your opinions regarding military schools, boarding schools etc?