Spirituality and Boarding Schools

When asked by my financial advisor to describe my life goals and life plan, I thought of a quote I always liked from John Wesley, founder of Methodism.  Isn’t it always interesting how if you put something out there in the universe, it will come back to you?  The next day, I got a newsletter from our local children’s home, Epworth Children’s Home, and there in bold was the exact quote:

 Do all the good you can, by all the means you can,
in the all the ways you can, in all the places you can,
at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.  

source

 Now if you know anything about John Wesley and his life in the 1700’s, he was a radical.  He went out in the streets ofLondonand preached to the poor.  But what really made him different was that he really “put his money where his mouth was”.  He believed in giving back and spent most of his life’s earnings starting schools and orphanages.  It was very clear to him that the way out of poverty was through education.  While there are some college majors today that do not directly lead to employment, we at The Price Group still believe this is true!

 Furthermore, if you look at the boarding schools across the nation, one of the things we especially like is the value of giving back and doing community service!  Some boarding schools that readily come to mind that do community service well are St. Andrew’s Sewanee in Tennessee, Rabun Gap School in Georgia, Christ School and Asheville School in North Carolina, Chatham Hall and Woodberry Forest in Virginia, and Holderness School in New Hampshire.  There are SO MANY boarding schools that started out originally as church affiliated schools.  For instance, the Rectory School, which is a junior boarding, comes to mind!  There is a strong tradition in the Episcopal Church to have affiliations with schools (such as St. Mark’s School, Blue Ridge School, Brooks School, CFS The School at Church Farm, and the Episcopal School of Texas, to name a few). Then there are great Catholic boarding schools, such as Canterbury and Portsmouth Abbey, which are still connected to an active monastery! Even if many boarding schools no longer have a formal church affiliation, most have remained true to their roots, especially in the south.  What we like is that while they promote strong values (consistent with the Ten Commandments), most are very open and welcoming to all faith traditions. 

When May and I were at Chatham Hall, we went to a chapel talk given by a woman of Chinese origin.  She talked about how much she had come to love the boarding school life.  When her mother had died and her father had remarried, she struggled to accept her new stepmother into her life.  She related that during her time at Chatham Hall, she had learned tolerance of others and was able to accept her new family member.  She read from a book of writings by Confucius  and had her friend play a piano piece from her country.  We believe in religious tolerance and yet, to deny that we need to teach our young people spiritual values is a terrible mistake.  Like most boarding schools, religious discussion should not create division, but rather allow young people to think about what is important to them personally.  Most boarding schools have a strong “honor code” based upon the principles of honesty, integrity, and … honor.  We are saddened by some boarding schools that seem to have “thrown the baby out with the bath water”.  Spirituality, honor, and morality should not have a political flavor but should rather support acceptance, the right to question or doubt, and the ability to learn to develop a personal set of morals and beliefs.  We think boarding schools are a great place to begin this process!

-Louise

For more boarding schools with religious affiliations, go here and click on religious affiliations on the left hand side of the page.

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