If you’re a parent of ‘tweens or teens, I strongly recommend this book: With Love and Prayers. Frankly, I’ve read it three times. I get something new from it each time.
Tony Jarvis is the author, and he has decades of experience working with students. He currently teaches at the Yale Divinity School, and for 30 years before that, was Headmaster of The Roxbury Latin School.
“RL,” as it’s informally known, is an all-boys school that goes from 7th to 12th grade. The school has some unique features to it, and I feel fortunate to be a Trustee. It’s been a labor of love for me.
Tony, as an entrepreneurial 28 year-old, took over RL during a very uncertain time in its history. He completely turned it around. RL used to be a very cold place, with a very high attrition rate. Many boys dropped out. Few people gave to the school. It’s mission didn’t resonate, and its revenue model didn’t work.
Tony did something really different. He early on committed (and, it’s now a common school saying) that RL would be a school “where every boy is known and loved.” That vibe exists everywhere. The faculty often talk about it, as do the Trustees. Alumni often mention that Tony has been the most influential person in their lives.
The school now is thriving. It’s endowment-per-student is the highest among day schools. The boys overall are happy. Many faculty spend their whole careers at RL. One hundred percent of parents last year gave to the Annual Fund.
I often think about that phrase, “known and loved.” It’s my belief that if children can really feel this, they will be more confident and settled. Numerous studies support this.
Many RL boys are from challenging home environments. The school’s endowment allows admissions to be need-blind, and so, it has a very diverse student population.
There are many, many more nuggets in the book, but I’ll stop here, as I want you to read it.
I had the pleasure of having dinner with Tony a few years ago. He is an incredible individual, who has affected so many people’s lives. He is so clearly mission-driven and high integrity.
His love has been transformative. I’ve seen young people’s lives change as a result of it.