Tough Love

Bloggers, mark your calendar. Every Wednesday, we will be reading a post by one of our ‘Premium Bloggers’ at your Adda. Today, we have Shilpa Garg who has this wonderful post. Shilpa, it is all yours:

Last evening, we decided to order Pizzas. Promptly, they were delivered. And swiftly, we were gobbling and enjoying the pizzas when suddenly KG, my best half stopped eating. A look on his face and all the hunger and that happy moment vanished. Enjoying something which our child simply loves and without him around, made us a little sad…

KG had this vision, which became my vision too, subsequently. We did a bit of research, spoke to a lot of experienced people and our belief got strengthened. It was about providing the best in everything to our child. Since, we had planned for it much before the desired time, we had to put it in the cold storage for a while. A few years down the line, it was nearly forgotten till a chance mention in February this year. And it was time to work on our plan. A quick look on the then current facts and we realized that we had missed the bus but the perseverant nature prevailed. So, a couple of calls and a few mails later, we saw a ray of hope. And in a span of a week, everything fell in place. The way it all happened, the only thing that comes to my mind is that โ€˜It was destined’!!

Yes, our 10 year old son Aaryan was destined to study in a Boarding School and that too which is one of the country’s best.

Boarding School?? Why?? These two words evoked a variety of reactions and responses from friends and acquaintancesโ€ฆ

The Believers

These are the genuinely happy guys who know the positives of a child studying in a boarding school. Some of them are inspired and motivated to send their kids to boarding schools too and ask endless questions about the school like the process, the fees, the curriculum, the environment, the alumni etc etc. They know the discipline and the sense of responsibility a child learns in this environment. Responsibility to take care of one’s things and time, among so many other things! They understand the countless opportunities a child gets to learn and grow, which is simply awe-inspiring. There are so many extra-curricular activities and the best part is that the students are encouraged to try new things and to stretch their abilities. Since last month, Aaryan has started learning scuba-diving and is enjoying it thoroughly. For the first time, a school in India is offering a course in scuba-diving!! The experience the child gets in a boarding school is simply priceless. A couple who were boarders themselves shared that the bonding they have with friends and colleagues, mentors and teachers of their respective alma maters is the bestest thing that has happened to them!

The Cynics

  • โ€œWe can never do this!โ€โ€ฆโ€œI can’t live without my child!!โ€ is what they have to tell us! Is it that sending a child to a boarding school is akin to a punishment or are we heartless and cruel parents??
  • Go for a second child: This is the frequent โ€˜suggestion’ that we encounter! This seems to be the most outrageous suggestion. No, it’s not about the second child but it’s about the reasoning given!
  • Your relationship will change. Yes, the daily cuddling or the hugging part will not be there but the focus is now on quality time and making the most of it.
  • You have outsourced parenting. Yes, and so did the parents of Ruskin Bond, Amitabh Bachchan, Ratan Tata, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Rahul Bajaj, Anand Mahindra, Salman Rushdie, Jeev Milkha Singh, Omar Abdullah, S.H.F.J. Manekshaw to name a very few and along with million of parents whose children have been/are part of boarding schools!

And US

Everything happened as per our plan and our happiness knew no bounds. But, the appointment letter made us do the reality check. On one hand was the once in a lifetime opportunity which was the best for our child and on the other hand was the sacrifice that would be involved; the emotional part!

It has been the hardest and the toughest decision that we have ever taken in our lives so far. The fact that our child is liking his new school and is happy and enjoying there, plus we see such wonderful changes in him, gives us the strength and makes us smile and fills us with pride too. But there are weak moments (which are many) when the only thought that keeps buzzing in the head is, โ€œWhat was the need?โ€

Coming back to the point, why a Boarding School? Well, simplyโ€ฆ

  • For giving your child an all round development, academics, sports, arts, social, emotional and much more in the best of environment.
  • For the discipline and the responsibility the child learns.
  • For the bonding and friendships that are lifelong.
  • For being a part of network of successful alumni
  • For an experience that is simply the best in every way!

It is a tough decision, rather very tough but it’s the best for our child, we know it!

33 Replies to “Tough Love”

  1. Excellent article, Shilpa. I agree totally with you. It is tough to live without your child, but the bonuses are far too many. You get to see your child on the way to becoming a responsible adult.

  2. Your kid is your heart walking outside you !!! It takes an iron will, immense strength to do what you’ve done Shilpa. And it’s a task well done !!!! May Aaryan”s name be added to the list you mentioned !!!
    And that btw is an awesome pic of his’ !!!

  3. It is indeed a tough call. If you ask me today I am not sure I would be willing to send my child to a boarding shcool though I am totally in favor of hostel life, it hardens you! It makes you realise the worth of many things.

    But yes it must be a pleasure to know that he is learning so many new things in life!

    Guess some decisions have to be taken, however hard they might be ๐Ÿ™‚ Lovely article!

  4. great post shilpa ! love your guts and gumption to take this decision. Will I do it- probably no; but I am glad the child has taken to it and he harbors no negative feelings ! Best Wishes

  5. @ Shooting Star : Thatโ€™s simply WOW!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    @ Lazy Pinapple : Thank you Vinita. Itโ€™s tough and we do experience separation pangs but weโ€™d like to see the larger picture! ๐Ÿ™‚

    @ Ava : Glad you like think so too. Thank you, Ava. ๐Ÿ™‚

    @ Aashima : Thanks a lot, Aashima for your kind words. Appreciate it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. It’s always a tough decision to take but I suppose the test is to ask whether your child is happier and learning more in the boarding school environment than he would at home. If the answer is ‘yes’ then your decision is the best. Some children just can’t adapt and that’s where the problems might start. Also as you rightly said, how it is perceived in the family matters a lot. Glad to see your little man is doing well!

  7. @ Smita : I understand how you feel, and it sure is a tough and a big decision and one of the most difficult one as a parent. It is not easy to see your child leave the nest so early in life, but as you rightly said, some decisions have to taken, however hard they might be!

    @ Namrata : Thanks Namrata ๐Ÿ™‚

    @ Priya : Thank you, Priya. If a child does not like being in a boarding and has not adjusted well, or has wrong perception about a boarding school, or is forced into one, it is going to do so much harm and damage … his psyche, personality, growth and development… all will go for a toss!
    We are glad that our child is loving it out there and is doing well. Thanks for your warm wishes!

  8. @ Corinne : Very true, there are kids who don’t like it at their boarding school and the parents have to alter their decisions. And that is any day better than letting a child stay there and let him harbor negative thoughts and feelings about his own family, even when they have had the best of intentions.
    Glad that our child has taken it so very positively. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Sending a child to boarding school is indeed a tough decision. I think you did a good job and took the right decision as it is one of the best boarding schools. There is always a bit of anxiety about the fact that there will be less of memories of your time with the child. But if you plan all the vacations, you’ll surely end up giving the best of both the worlds to your kid.

    ATB !

  10. @ Aabha : Agree absolutely about less time with your child, and that’s the toughest part as a parent. So, as you rightly mentioned, the focus is on spending quality time whenever we meet him which is nearly every month! Thanks, Aabha for your wishes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    @ Deepali : Thank you, Deepali ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Shilpa,

    I agree with you that it is prime responsibility of parents to provide the best they can to their children. If one is in Delhi or Mumbai etc it may be possible to find the right educational institute but otherwise it is individual choice to send the child or not to Boarding School. However I do feel that initial growing years are best spent with parents and once bonding is strong the child understands what is best for him or her, then choice of boarding school can be taken up. I am sure he will make you both proud by his achievements and decision taking abilities.

    Take care

  12. That’s such a brave and selfless decision. Would you mind sharing with me (personally through email) the boarding school you selected for your son? After what you have written, I am curious to check it out for my daughter or son when they are a lot bigger.

  13. Hi Shilpa,
    You have a flair for writing, which is admirable!Right from the title up to the last word, I enjoyed reading it.No doubt you have taken a tough decision,but the dividends that you will reap, will, certainly be gratifying.I too studied in a boarding school.It was at a time when it was taboo to send girls to school. I really admire you for this informative article which can be of great use for skeptical parents.

  14. @ Jack : I understand your view point. After a lot of discussions with people who had studied in boarding schools, teachers, we came to a conclusion that a 10-11 yr old or Class VI is the right age to send a child to a boarding school. The child is a bit mature and sensible and in a stage where he can imbibe and learn and mould himself. Thank you so much for the kind words! Truly appreciate it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. @ Himanshu : Thank you, Himanshu! Yes, it is the toughest one for us till date!!

    @ BK Chowla : Thanks Mr. Chowla. And yes, that’s idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

    @ Usha Menon : Thank you so much, Ma’am. Am glad you liked it. Wow, can learn a lot from your experience of a boarding school too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. You have beautifully listed the boarding school advantages.

    WEll said, it is not about the quantity of time but quality time. There are many parents who sit beside their children and breathe down their neck.

    yes, indeed it is a tough decision but sometimes you have to make the decision for gifting a good future for your child.

    My cousins studied at kodai international school while their parents were abroad. My cousins are emotionally well rounded apart from having good peer relationships. Two very important requisites for today’s life. God bless Aryaan with lots of opportunities.

  17. Nice post.. very touching.. And what a brave decision.. Also there’s lots of advantages of studying in Boarding School..

  18. @ Asha and Manjulika : Thank you ladies, glad you appreciate and understand our reasons for sending Aaryan to a Boarding School. It is indeed a tough decision, but we are happy about it! Thanks a lot for the warm wishes ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Hi Shilpa, can’t describe in words what I am feeling right now…. your this article has really made my day. I have also read your another blog- “You won’t know until you try” which has put an end to my several days of emotional turmoil over whether we have made the right decision of sending my only daughter to a boarding school. There is still a social stigma attached to boarding schools in the society where I live and people keep creating very demoralizing atmosphere about boarding schools… I wish they could read your this blog… can I share it on my fb wall?? btw am delighted to know that your son is well settled in his boarding school.My best wishes for his gr8 future & looking forward for more posts on this topic. Thanks.

  20. HI Swati. It is so wonderful to connect with you here. It is truly sad that people think of boarding schools as a punishment for a child or that only unruly, bratty kids should be sent to boardings. They do not understand our perspective for sending our only child to a boarding school.
    Believe me, we have made a right decision… it is tough for we parents, but we are glad that our children are comfortable and happy at their new schools.
    Good luck to you and your doll too! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Oh, yes, pls go ahead and share this post! Thanks a ton ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. As long as you remember not to sleep early on the last night of the term you will be alright (otherwise you might wake up with shoe polish on your face and toothpaste in other areas). As a parent now I can only now realise the courage my parents had in putting me in a boarding school. Both my wife and I have studied in boarding schools and it has made us better for the experience. Getting up in the morning, making your bed, cleaning your shoes, keeping your locker clean these are basic skills which unfortunately lot of kids growing up in privileged homes in India absolutely lack. I have seen grown men who have been pampered and mollycoddled since childhood and lack the capability to do even the basic tasks. Yes they can be taught at home too and probably should but that is another discussion. Funny you mention Amitabh Bacchan for our boarding in-charge and English teacher was at Sherwood then where he had taught him too (probably a couple of decades before he taught us I might add). Apparently Mr Bacchan was found sneaking over to the orchard in the neighbouring All Saints on a few occasions.
    I might be biased but I think most boarders get a better all-round education too. Both academics and extra-curricular activities are covered.
    In the long run your child will thank you for your choice.

  22. Fantastic piece Shilpa, and a topic I wanted to discuss with you at Goa, when you told me that your son was in boarding school! Your post covered it all though!

    It made a very good read!



  23. Hi Subroto
    It is so heartwarming to read your experiences at the Boarding School and the testimonial from people like you confirms that we made the right choice. Thank you so much. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. I would agree and disagree as well. It is tough; for a parent as well as for the child. It may give the child the ‘all round maturity’ which is priceless. It may, however, deprive the child as well as the parent from the give and take of love and the sense of being together, which is also, in my opinion, priceless.

    Opinions may differ. Good post though. Nice.

  25. Hey Shilpa,

    I think this is a tough call. The reason is that the first few years of the life at least till 10 should be with parents essentially for bonding and creating a sense of togetherness. I am a firm believer of that. The best time to have kids nearby is when they are young, it’s good to watch kids grow. This is just my opinion ๐Ÿ™‚

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