There are advantages to having gone to a military boarding school for your high school years. After four years in a military school, college, even an ivy league one, can only be so much of a challenge.
Though my time at McCallie was only four years, there are some things that have stuck with me. You just can't sit in the chapel that many times without something sinking into your head. Even a bunch of teenagers can't be immune for four years.
McCallie's motto still is “Man’s Chief End is to Glorify God and to Enjoy Him Forever.” It would be hard to come out of McCallie without a strong appreciation for religion. You couldn't graduate without a year of Bible.
There are other things that were drummed into my unreceptive teenage head. Most importantly I remember, "Honor, Truth, and Duty. I also learned the importance of getting a job done, and the life altering lesson that you are responsible for your own actions. I can still remember getting up at 5 am and studying Latin in the hallway with a flashlight.
It took me a long time to get over black socks and shining my shoes each morning. Of course I still like blue shirts, maybe that goes back to the choice of wearing a blue or a blue shirt unless you were wearing dress whites.
Like many McCallie graduates I was really ready to leave and to have the opportunity to enjoy some freedom. The year we left, 1967, was the last year for McCallie's military program. I'm not sorry I went through it, but I also believe that being a military school got in the way of McCallie's main academic and spiritual mission.
However, thanks to all the training including the military part of it, I knew how to buckle down when I faced a job that needed doing. Many college students didn't have the discipline to stop partying.
There's one thing that I learned which has proved invaluable throughout life. That would be the ability to take a nap while appearing to be wide awake.
Now age might dampen the skill a little, but it's still useful. After all those years in a Presbyterian influenced military school, it was natural to end up in a Presbyterian Church.
The fortunate part is I've heard one of our ministers say that he feels honored that people are comfortable enough to take a little nap or rest their eyes in his church. With my McCallie honed skill he might never know when he's being honored.