“I was feeling I had less and less access to finding things that could inspire (my son).”
A couple of years ago, Dr. T.’s son, Ben, was not fulfilling his potential the way he had in the past. She realized she had to “think outside of the box” and be more creative in how she approached his needs. The idea of a boarding school had occurred to her a couple of times, but she was afraid sending her son away to school might leave him feeling rejected and meant she was failing as a parent. After weeks of research, she came across a school that she thought could give her son some things she couldn’t to help him access all of his abilities.
Although the thought of her son living halfway across the country was not what she had imagined, Dr. T. trusted the move from California to Missouri was the kind of environment he needed. Now, two years later, her son has developed and evolved into the young man she always knew was inside of him and she couldn’t be more pleased.
It was November of my son’s Sophomore year in High School and I was experiencing another round of frustration as he wasn’t reaching his potential. He wasn’t getting bad grades, but he wasn’t getting the grades in which he was a custom. Because he is bright and curious, it was painful to see him not fighting for his future and dreams. He was never a “bad boy” but he wasn’t afraid to challenge others if he felt they were wrong. He didn’t like how I was trying to get him focused and I was feeling as though I had less and less access to finding the things that could inspire him again.
I had fleetingly considered boarding schools in the past year because my son had mentioned it once, but I couldn’t bear the thought of not having him live at home. I also wondered if it made me a bad parent to send him away to school. In addition to those thoughts, I also felt an urgency not to loose time. I felt I should trust my instincts to do what might be needed to help him mature into the man I knew he could and wanted to be.
I started my search looking for schools with a military influence because my son had always been interested in the military. After looking at several schools online, I found MMA. I immediately liked their website as it explained their philosophy on education and character development. When I called to get more information I found the admissions staff to be extremely informative and responsive. They told me the virtual tour of the campus online is very accurate. When I did arrive to take a tour of the school I agreed, it is very accurate. The warm and friendly staff (even on that cold January day) was an added bonus to what I had seen on the virtual tour.
My son started MMA mid year of his Sophomore year. He is now a senior. His growth and development has been impressive and he has made great use of what MMA has to offer.
The things MMA has given him is an ability to think about his choices and to take responsibility for his choices. MMA instructors and staff did a great job reinforcing the lessons I taught him to respect others. They have helped him not only respect others in big and small ways, but also respect himself by pursuing his goals and staying focused.
My son is an only child and at MMA he has learned how to have roommates and to find ways to compromise. He has benefited from the competition between the Companies and taken pride in working as a group to encourage each other’s academics, social skills, sport involvement and hobbies.
Although my son was not initially eager to go to MMA he has told me he is glad he did go, as it has helped him mature and equally important, he is thrilled with his grades. He also loves the privileges he gets at MMA for a high GPA. He has learned that he is in charge of his freedom, privileges and future.
I live in California, which not only feels like it is far from Missouri, it IS far from Missouri. I have been very impressed with the teachers and staff at MMA as they have ALWAYS been very responsive and helpful. The staff makes the distance feel shorter as they return calls in a timely manner and I feel like they know my son. They care about his development and are my eyes and ears to his life in ways I can’t be, which leaves me feeling comforted and involved. I feel like we are a team.
MMA has not always been easy for him, or me for that matter. My son has called me when he has been afraid he would not get a leadership position he wanted, or he has been frustrated because of conflict with peers. However, looking back, these are all learning experiences that have helped him grow. He has learned about other cultures from fellow international students that has deepened his appreciation for the opportunities he has been exposed.
My son is proud to have earned a position as a part of the Battalion Staff and is currently a Fellow at the Duke of York Royal Military School in England, MMA’s sister school. His future is bright. MMA has respected faculty and staff who show him respect as they have taught him classwork or coached him in sports. He has been anchored by the traditions of the school and their values.
Last night on the phone he said, “I know I don’t tell you enough, but I am very grateful for the opportunity you have given me to be able to go to MMA and to now be in England.” For that, I am very grateful.
As for the military part of MMA, well, for me, I don’t think there has been one formation or parade where I haven’t cried. They are always tears of pride and joy as I watch my son and his friends, “brothers,” be the GENTLEMEN they can be.
My fears of thinking I am a “bad” parent by sending my son away to a boarding school have been replaced by a relief that he is being all he can be. I visited him often and the distance allowed for deep and meaningful conversations when we spoke by phone that probably would not have happen at home in our day to day lives. MMA was a great match for my son and he has the bright future he has always deserved. No one knows your son like a parent does, I am glad I trusted my research and instincts.
V. S. T.
Her son capped his successful high school experience by graduating in May and this fall, he will be attending a major university on a full Commander’s Choice Air Force ROTC Scholarship.