I often think about courage when I think of each of our Brentwood students and their parents. What we can sometimes forget is the long process involved, even before students arrive at our school; the road is rarely an easy one. Families must come to a common acceptance that it is okay that their son or daughter is seeking to board away from home. For many there is still a stigma attached to boarding schools until they realize that Brentwood does not accept students that are sent here. It is always the student’s choice. This somehow makes it easier to accept; that their child is taking their first steps to adulthood. The decision is their child’s decision. Suddenly it begins to become clearer for everyone.
The second stage is arriving to Brentwood. The dream has become reality and, for the students, there is the somber realization of being on their own for the first time, away from the comfort of their own beds and the support and comfort of the ‘known’. For the parents, the house seems a little emptier and there are often anxious moments. Then, almost magically, a few weeks go by and suddenly these children emerge as independent, decision-making young adults. It is almost overnight and it is at this moment that the initial courage pays its dividends. Parents and their children seem to simultaneously come to the realization that their courage has paid off. New students report home that they are happy, alive, excited and vibrating with the overabundance of opportunity and friendships. Parents lose their guilt and beam with pride at the enthusiasm shown by their kids. In the end, as parents and as students, what more could we ever ask for?