Maturity: The Class of 2011 Has It

Maturity…I know part of it is just growing up. But in talking to R-MA parents, it tends to be one of the first things they say about their kids. “He’s so much more mature than his friends.” That’s not an easy thing to define, and outside of parental quotes, it’s not easy to put into marketing materials. Just the word “maturity” tends to conjure up images of white-haired gentlemen in business suits, possibly overcautious, rather than almost-graduates who are ready to take on the world.

But when parents write in about it, when they talk to you about it, and you hear it over and over…well, I can’t help but think it’s obvious that we’re doing something right here at R-MA. We don’t graduate boys and girls. We graduate young men and women, and parents notice the difference.

Part of the reason that parents see such a difference is the boarding school environment. Students typically keep in close contact with their families, but Mom and Dad are no longer right there to save them from the consequences of their own actions…and let’s face it, one of the hardest things to do as a parent is to let our child fail, and not save him from his own forgetfulness/ignorance/etc.  When they’re allowed to fail, that’s when they start to truly grow up.

Our teachers are another contributing factor. They work hard to bring out the best in every student—but I bet you’ve read something like that at every private school web site you’ve visited, right? So I’ll just say that my son has had exceptional teachers here at R-MA and leave it at that for now.

Maturity is also developed in the Air Force JROTC program, and here’s just one small example of how. One of the boys in my mentoring group came in last year and constantly had stains on his clothing. The kids can get written up for not wearing the Air Force JROTC uniform properly, although many of us are just as likely to simply correct the students. This particular young man was being hounded on all sides about his appearance—from his dorm counselor, from his teachers, from me…and it finally sank in. At the start of this school year, we praised him with astonishment when he showed up properly dressed. Now we expect it of him. Not that he doesn’t still drop food on his shirt once in a while…but who doesn’t?

Now I don’t want you to think that AFJROTC is all about a uniform. It’s not. It’s ethical discussions, leadership training, learning about being an upright citizen, resume writing, job hunting, and college applications. It is a critical part of how R-MA prepares young men and women for not just college, but the “real” world—in other words, helping them to gain the maturity they need to be poised and confident in life.

Knowledge. Leadership. Character. Maturity. Maybe it’s not right for a new slogan, but it’s something the Class of 2011 developed during their time at R-MA. They’re as ready as they can be for the next challenge in their lives.