The boarding school system in Uganda can be likened to a prison system; not so much that children are criminals who need to be locked up but that children are sent away to these institutions and only allowed periodical visits from their loved ones – just like in prisons. This weekend was VD weekend in many boarding schools around the country. In this case, VD does not stand for Venereal Disease, Vaginal Discharge, Virtual DJ, Vampire Diaries or Valentines Days. VD is simply short for visitation day; a day when parents go to see their children in boarding schools. This weekend I went on one such VD and I was met with a wave of nostalgia that swept through me like a virus through an unwilling yet weak host; with ferociousness and bitterness – I really missed boarding school.
I know a number of parents who swear that it will be a cold day in hell before they can take their children to boarding schools. I understand that you may have very good intentions for your child but believe me; you will only see the benefits of boarding school much later in life. However, even before you wait for much later, I shall attempt to offer you some arguments for why you might need to consider shipping off your only child to a far away boarding school where you are only permitted to see them once a month, and only for a few hours. I therefore come before you my friends, urging parents to say Yes to boarding schools.
Freedom at last!
One may wonder why and how freedom is being presented as an advantage in this boarding school debate. What I am referring to here is not freedom for the child; heck, the only freedom a child needs is freedom to choose whether you will use the belt, the slipper or the good old whip on them in case they err. The kind of freedom I am referring to here is freedom for the parent from the child. You see, when children have been shipped off to boarding school, you do not have to worry about little devils running around the house getting hurt, demanding things and generally giving you unexpected heart attacks from the swear words you didn’t think they knew. You have all the freedom in the world to come back home at 2am in the night and not be called an irresponsible parent. You also have the freedom to watch cartoons, be a couch potato and even have a wicked house party because, well, there are no kids to ruin the fun for you.
Research has shown that over the years, parents have become softer and softer on their children. (Ok I didn’t really do any research but who cares? The assumption is kind of true if you really think about it.) In the past, an ass whooping from your parents was not unexpected; it was almost mandatory. When I was in school, I was quite a model child because I rarely got into trouble and even if I did, I somehow had the perfect excuse. One would therefore imagine that I rarely got an ass whooping. Oh how so wrong! Matter of fact, I feasted so much on ass whoopings from my parents that at some point I thought they had been created by God just to whoop me to shreds! I therefore accepted my fate and set out to be a good boy. Nowadays, a parent lifting a finger let alone handing an ass whooping to their child will have child activists, religious leaders, animal activists, plant activists and whoever else loves children demanding the parent’s blood. To save yourself this burden, ship off the little bastards to boarding school and let the teachers deal with them! Of course the risk you stand here is that you might end up raising a child you barely even know. You might also assume that the teachers are straightening your child yet indeed your child is getting worse, with the peer pressure and all. However, if you are too scared to hand your child an ass whooping, you may as well ship them off to boarding school so they can be knocked into shape by the tough life away from the safe comfort of home.
Expenditure… What Expenditure?
Naturally when your children are around, your expenses will go through the roof. The phone bill will sky rocket, the water bill will explode, the electricity bill will weigh you down and the food bill will just suffocate you. Take the children out of the equation and you can live on bread and water, fast a few days, sleep hungry on some days and even crush at a friend’s place every once in a while. With your children safely locked away in boarding school, you are under no obligation to stock the fridge or the kitchen cabinet. As long as you have fully paid up their tuition, you need not worry about the little devils creeping up on you every day with fresh demands. You see, children never run out of things they want. And with the law nowadays encouraging children to demand for their rights, one can only wonder if there is a limit to the things they will ask for. Give your wallet a much needed break and bundle the little fellas off to boarding school.
Life’s Lessons & Experiences
There are lessons and experiences that children can only learn and go through while in boarding school. The drama that comes with the days leading up to visitation day can only be found in a boarding school. The excitement and euphoria that sweeps through the entire school on the last day of the school term is second to none. The pleasure of receiving a letter from a person of the opposite sex in another school is just immeasurable. The team work that is put into hurling insults and profanities from one end of the dorm to another is just legendary. And above all, the planning that goes into trying to escape from school to go and have a little fun can only be pulled off by CIA operatives. Let’s just say that if your child has not been to boarding school they are probably going to miss out on so many lessons in life. True, they will be up-to-date in terms of all the Agataliko Nfuufu stories and the latest soaps on TV but overall, they will miss out on several otherwise precious lessons that life has to offer.
All you parents who are not so keen on boarding school, I shall leave you with this week’s quote …
“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
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