My boys are heading to high school next year, a transition which I always thought would mean happily sending them off to boarding school to experience the absolute best of life. But somewhere along the way my sentiments have changed, and now, as I am facing the reality of the local high school vs boarding school I am finding myself increasingly torn.
As someone who has felt the first hand impact of mental ill health, I am acutely aware of this aspect of life. As a mother, I feel immensely sensitive to the impact my actions are having on my kids mental wellbeing, and on the challenging days, I feel that boarding school would be an enormous benefit for my precious bundles as it would allow them to escape the craziness that is life with a Mum who is in tears for what seems to be an extreme amount of the time and ranting and raving at all times in between. On those days I look at the incomplete homework sheets and am drawn to the idea of afterschool tutoring and academic rigour that is expected within a private school. As I drop the boys late to football training for the third week in a row, I beat myself up and embed the idea that I need to work harder to earn the hundreds of thousands of dollars required to send my three children to a school that will provide them the opportunity they deserve, opportunities that I feel I am denying them in the craziness that they call home.
But I am also the Mum who has experienced the lows, who knows what it is like to feel unheard, unseen and dead within a living body. I am an example to my children of someone who has delved into her soul to find peace and fulfilment in the simple things in life. My gift is a deep wisdom about the importance of nature, the need to listen to your heart and the ability to tap into your inner realm to find life’s riches. Who is in the boarding house to guide my children’s precious souls in these lessons? When they feel their own anxiety welling to the surface in the form of anger and confusion who will they turn to when all around them are so professional and competent in the way they conduct themselves? When will they find the space within the extra curricula activity to perform the most important activity of all, to simply be.
Touring the boarding schools, I am shown the Olympic swimming pools, the staff photo boards of ex Wallabies and Oxford scholars, but where is the river my precious son will sit by as he recalls the feeling of his heart skipping a beat as he received his first kiss. Where will he quietly sob his message to his inner guides so that they can embrace him with his own knowing?
How will my son ground himself when the lights go down in the state of the art amphitheatre and the animated fly through of the latest international exchange starts playing on the screen. I fear that in that moment his understanding of himself will be lost, the simplicity of that feeling of what it is to feel deeply connected to within so that the without becomes irrelevant, instead I fear he will be swallowed by the thrill of the next rung of opportunity.
I am shown the trillion dollar laser cutting machine and the CAD software that can print a human heart but where is the tree that he will sit under when his own heart is broken by that first lost love.
What I really want to know is in which classroom do they teach the language of the soul?