The boarding house: fertile soil for lasting friendships?
Boarding school graduates are often heard fondly remembering their student days as a time when they met their most important friends. Many of them keep in touch after graduation, becoming lifelong friends despite geographical separation, sometimes across national borders.
Some may wonder how this is possible, given the many challenges and inconveniences one has to face when sharing a residence with others. Students have different habits, lifestyles and schedules. It is easy to imagine that a host of disagreements, which could have been avoided in a day school situation, would become inevitable in a boarding context.
In reply, it can be said that the process of handling differences well, rather than the lack of differences, is a mark of true friendship. The sincere exchange of views, even in a debate, is a step towards deeper mutual understanding. To be able to argue in a civilised way, and to reconcile after confrontations, require forbearance and humility. Boarding with peers creates a safe and nurturing social environment for young people to learn these lessons, helping them forge and maintain meaningful relationships later on in life.