I have an only Son who is a Chorister and is boarding. He is into his second year now.
I have always struggled with letting him go to be a Chorister although I would never show him. This was something he wanted to follow and I didnt want to be resented at a later date.
He has always been an independant boy but always loving and caring. I have noticed these past few months (just turned 11 years) that he is becoming increasingly distant and couldnt care less if he comes home or not on the few hours we do get with him on a Saturday morning. When I ring him in the week at the allocated time, he comes to the phone but is always in the middle of something and want to get off of the phone.
I feel like I am losing him and it is killing me. Just today I rang to remind him that he had Cathedral duties on Saturday so we wont see him then but we will see him on Sunday and have Mothering Sunday Lunch. He replied that he isnt particularly fussed if we came up or not and to only bother if we wanted to! I reminded him that we were going to lunch for Mothering Sunday to which he replied good for you!
He knows that I love him, I always tell him and he does know that I miss him but have always reinforced that I am happy as long as he is happy and the moment that he isnt happy, I would take him from Choir in a heartbeat. But he seems happy and rarely complains.
I dont know what this is all about other than he is in their care and I only get to see him for a few hours a week, most of which he is on his kindle or pc!
My knee jerk reaction is to just take him out of the school and end the Choristership, I am so worried about losing him completely and him becoming too detached.
Doesn't it make you wonder about the sense of it all? What is the purpose of splendid Church music if, in order to create it, the C of E find it necessary to cause so much pain to choristers and their families? Who cares about the love of God, when the cathedral's boarding chorister policies and disastrous scheduling are so clearly offensively dismissive of the relationship between parents and their children, brothers and sisters, and the mundane and earthly love that a mother might have for her son?
I am a chorister mother, and sang with great pleasure in a church choir for 10 years. But church music to me now is just the noise I have to bear with gritted teeth before I get to speak to my son on his 2-minute walk back to the boarding house.
Even if, and especially if, perhaps, you are a single working mother and have illusions, as I did, about the convenience of sending an only (fatherless) child to a school where he would be surrounded by good male role models, don't be fooled! It is not convenient - it is just heart-braking - heart-braking again and again and again - because, although they board, unless you live within spitting distance from the school/cathedral, any reasonable contact or free-time together is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for 4 or 5 WHOLE IMPORTANT YEARS of your child's life.
For example: a typical exeat weekend when you might think you would get an opportunity to organise a reasonable period of time together at home.
Friday - home-time is 1.30 for everybody - but only for those boarding choristers who have non-working mothers who live in houses within spitting distance of the school, because there are evening rehearsals to attend. But then you can go home again on Friday night if you live nearby.
Then, Saturday is free until the rehearsal at 4pm and the service after that. Saturday night is spent in the school as there are 2 services on Sunday morning.
Sunday afternoon, you can go home, again, if, and only if, you live within spitting distance of the school. If not - tough!
The boarding chorister regime is ONLY suitable for children whose parents live within walking distance of the cathedral, or a short drive.
One of the schools we looked at had a similar schedule and we turned it down. I want ds to be a chorister and have a near as normal life as he can. I think we've succeeded in the choice we made. The male role models bit is definitely a plus (ds only child, single mother).
And further- if more needed to be said - nothing can prepare you for the shock of how the cathedral will treat you as a parent - but I hope this will.
Frankly, boarding chorister parents are made to feel like dangerous criminals who are not to be trusted with the care of their children. This is why they insist senselessly on your child boarding - even if you live next door to the cathedral. They do not trust you to bring up your own child and they will do their level best to destroy your relationship with him.
And if you wonder why the church is so horrendously backward in its attitude and policies, it is because there are still enough fools like me around to send their children to these schools. Nothing will change until they are forced to change by outside forces.