Willows Academy is excited to have welcomed Julia and Martin Boles as featured panelists to kick off our 2022-23 season of “Raising Great Girls,” a panel conversation series for parents.
WHO ARE JULIA & MARTIN BOLES?
Julia graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in English and Economics. She went on to work in the White House, the Attorney General’s Office at the Dept of Justice, and the Heritage Foundation.
Martin, after graduating from Dartmouth with a major in geology, worked in a mining company after college. When mining companies began laying off many of their young geologists during the 1982 recession, he pivoted careers, eventually earning a JD/MBA from Stanford.
Julia and Martin met in Washington DC while neither of them were Catholic. Julia was a practicing Episcopalian, and Martin, though not religious, was meeting with a priest of Opus Dei.
After converting and getting married, the Boles moved to California. They were soon pregnant with their first child, Ginny, and their family grew rapidly (at one point, they even had six children five and under!). Today, they have nine children, the youngest of whom just entered college this fall. As converts from smaller families, they never imagined that this is what their lives would look like, but are deeply grateful for God’s providential hand in their journey.
GROWING THEIR FAMILY
The Boles have always tried to raise confident children who hold themselves to high expectations. They spent quality time with all their kids and fostered deep relationships with them; they challenged their children intellectually and developed shared interests.
Alongside the undercurrent of this consistent philosophy, however, family dynamics inevitably shifted and changed as more children came along. For example, Ginny, the Boles’ oldest daughter, remembers fondly times of sitting on the bed with Julia and being able to talk about everything. In turn, Therese, the Boles’ youngest daughter, had access to guidance from older siblings.
“I didn’t have the same types of conversations on Mama’s bed like Ginny, but I remember calling Mer [an older sister] once when I wanted to push back on a family rule,” Therese explained, jokingly adding, “I knew Mer had wisdom without the threat of punishment.”
While each child’s individual experience may have been slightly different, the strong foundation of the Boles’ intentional parenting has had a powerful impact on the entire family. From lots of fun activities and traditions to making an effort to hold meaningful and honest conversations, the Boles have a wealth of knowledge backed up by experience in building a strong and happy family.
“The mutual love and support amongst and between our now grown children is a dream come true for us as parents,” Julia reflects. “Our favorite people to hang out with are our adult kids.”
A SENSE OF MISSION
The Boles family’s sense of mission is not just one that exists inside of the family, but manifests in work outside the home as well.
When they felt a need to provide their children with a better education than what their current school had to offer, they partnered with other families to found St. Monica Academy in 2001. The school has grown from just 44 students in grades two through eight to over 300 students ranging from 1st all the way to 12th grade.
Some of their children also work at schools that uphold the faith while providing a high quality education. The Boles’ oldest daughter is a teacher at Oakcrest (Willows’ sister school in Virginia) and their second daughter and husband are currently working to found a school with a similar philosophy in Orange County.
“We think the success of all such schools is vitally important for the Church and our nation,” Julia comments.
The Boles spoke on cultivating a sense of mission within a family as part of our Raising Great Girls series.