I had a conversation with a lady, who sought my advice on her children. She had informed me that the behavior of her children was giving her a headache. She said she did not know where the children picked their defiant behaviors from. These children are all in boarding schools. I advised that since she was this worried about her children, she should pull them out boarding school for at least a year, spend time with them and be there for them to instruct them. Her response was instructive. She said she could not pull the children out of the boarding school. I was curious to hear her reason. She said to me, ‘I am a career woman and I am busy and so is their father. If I bring them home, who will be responsible for them? You see, her response revealed to me why she sent her children to boarding school in the first instance. She wanted to have time. The truth is that this kind of story is not peculiar. It shares a disturbing commonality with many others.
As a child protection enthusiast, my concern is that parents may not be doing enough due diligence to ensure that the protection of their children is guaranteed before they send their children to boarding school. The race for convenience is often run with the energy of desperation. There is a quest not to only solve a problem when convenience is involved but to solve it now and this is antithetical to the principle of due diligence, without which no man can take quality decisions.
With the foregoing in mind I urge you to join me in considering the following child protection-focused questions you must ask from yourself, spouse and the school before your send your child to a boarding school:
- Is the child old enough? There are diverse and divergent of views as to when a child should be sent to a boarding school. It is not in my character to join issues. My simple thinking is that for a child to be released to go to a boarding school, he must be old enough to be able to carry out a measure of protection. Self-protection is a critical issue today in dealing with abuses, particularly when we deal with child-to-child abuse, which may also be referred to as bullying. Please note that by self-protection, I am not talking about self-defence. Self-defence is only a minute part of self-protection. While self-protection focus on intelligent actions, aimed at protection, self-defence may deal more with cure. The number one rule of self-protection for a child is the consciousness of himself, his environment and the possible danger and the ability to accurately interpret same and seek protection as a preventive measure. Part of the foregoing is that the child understands boundaries, the rules, which have been put in place to protect him and how to access the covering of such rules. The child must be in a position to be able to articulate his views. For example a 9 year old boy was sent to a boys-only boarding school for the first time. He returned home after a term and told his parents that he was not going back. After much probing, he revealed that older boys were sexually molesting him and that he spent most of his time fighting and devising strategies in his own little way how to protect himself. What if he was not conscious enough to appreciate his situation?
- Is the child trained to speak up? It is one thing to believe that the child is old enough; it is another for the child to be taught how to protect himself. A child must be trained to stand up for himself. This is not the primary responsibility of a school and the parents should not pass the bulk. It is our duty to study our children very well, sharpen their backbones before sending them out. Geoffrey Holder instructed, ‘education begins at home. You can’t blame the school for not putting into your child what you don’t put into him.’
I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE.
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