I think that any young person who pursues excellence in anything is probably going to come away from that experience with very healthy doses of discipline, structure and purpose. Whether your child wants to be a really good hockey player or the best app writer ever, he will have to decide on his goals and figure out how to get there. That's what military schools are also very good at doing. They offer the kind of rigorous discipline and structure which is every bit as demanding as the kind of athletic preparation a top-ranked runner gets, every bit as focused on teamwork as the members of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra are, for example.
We know that discipline produces good results. It is never enough to be a genius and have a myriad of wonderful ideas and projects nobody else has thought of unless you possess the attribute of discipline. All those wonderful ideas and projects will come to naught without discipline. Fortunately discipline can be taught. Military schools have discipline figured out. They know how to teach discipline. And, no, I am not talking about the popular image of kids in a military school somewhere being yelled at every minute by some nasty drill sergeant. Those days are gone. Military schools these days are filled with students who want to get ahead academically and make something of themselves. Military schools allow that to happen.
The kind of discipline which you will find at military schools is the kind which prepares your son or daughter for success in their careers and lives. Academic and intellectual discipline will provide them with a solid preparation for college. Personal discipline will enable them to fulfill the promise each child has. The discipline of working together as a team teaches young people the benefits of teamwork as well as respecting others.
Here is how the Commandant of Cadets at the Culver Academies puts it:
"While steeped in a heritage that dates back over one hundred years, CMA is a progressive college-preparatory school that uses the military model to educate and train its cadets in practical leadership. While maintaining its focus on academic, athletic, and extracurricular excellence, CMA integrates hands-on leadership with every campus endeavor. Like its CGA counterpart, CMA empowers its students with unparalleled responsibility and authority, to help execute the mission of the school and develop leaders of character. While the similarities with the Nation’s Service Academies are striking, our graduates largely pursue civilian careers, and routinely rise to positions of great importance."
Constructing worlds of meaning is one way Culver Academies accomplishes this.
Discipline begins with structure. Structure does not repress your child. Quite the opposite. Structure allows him to explore, learn and build his knowledge base step by step in a progressive, organized manner. Structure incorporates the balance necessary to develop the whole child. Military schools pride themselves on offering a structured approach to education.
Missouri Military Academy describes this approach as the 360 degree approach..
"A 360 degree Education is a program of study that develops mind, body and spirit; that supports a young man’s need for independence and structure; individual achievement and team-oriented success."
Discipline and structure build character. It is the fusion of these attributes which military schools understand from long years of experience in educating young people. Character is formed and transformed in a setting where there is both structure and discipline.
A cadet on the Hargrave Military Academy site puts it succinctly: "I have done more homework in the last three weeks than I did in my last two years of high school." https://www.hargrave.edu/academics
Some people wander aimlessly through life. I find myself wondering if their lives have any purpose or meaning. That sounds harsh but frankly the last thing I want for any young person I have ever taught is for them to have a life devoid of purpose. Military schools offer a chance for young people to re-calibrate their thinking and find that purpose which they seek. Young people want to make a difference but they have to be shown how to make a difference. Military schools do that very well. These are formative years when young people are very impressionable. The core values most military schools embrace encourage stability, respect diversity and reward achievement.
This core attribute of military schools has strengthened the lives of thousands of young people who have attended military school. They teach cadets how to lead. While there are lessons in leadership, much of the leadership training is taught by example. Military schools have consistently recruited faculty and administrators who understand the importance of their role as educators in the 21st century.
Here is how The Howe Military Academy describes its take on leadership:
"For more than 130 years, Howe Military Academy has been a leader in enhancing the the Education, Maturation and Socialization (EMS) processes of cadets. To accomplish this objective, we provide a military model that helps cadets achieve leadership skills that will benefit them throughout their life. Our leadership development model integrates knowledge, character, education and application into the EMS processes of our cadets. Our program strives to instill discipline and self-control to teach our cadets to control urges and resist temptations. Cadets learn to think through the consequences of their own actions by taking ownership and responsibility."
Throughout the structure, discipline and leadership attributes of military schools runs the common thread of patriotism. Love of this great nation and understanding of its place in the global community is part of the DNA of every military school. And, yes, parades are still very much a part of that patriotic display as you can see in the following video.
Preparation for College
Many people assume that military prep schools are geared to preparing their graduates for a life of service in our armed forces. While some graduates do matriculate to our service academies, most military school graduates matriculate on to colleges and universities for further study in their chosen fields. Many military school graduates move from JROTC in which they participate while in high school to ROTC at the college they are attending. Military schools understand how important it is to prepare young people for leadership and service in whatever endeavor or calling their students happen to choose.
Massanutten Military Academy expresses a military school's mission as follows:
"Massanutten Military Academy's mission is to prepare cadets for their success by delivering structure and a superior educational experience. Our unique approach involves an environment built on collaboration, critical thinking and innovation."
21st century military schools aim to educate the whole child. With core attributes such as the ones listed above they will accomplish that goal.