Dealing with "How can you let him do xROTC?"

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by kinnem, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,539
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    I've seen miscellaneous comments on this topic across various threads over the past 18 months I've spent on this forum. Since a new crop of parent's are coming on board I thought it might be useful for folks to append on how they deal with the following comments from folks:
    1. How could you let him join xROTC? He might be killed?
    2. Good Lord! I hope he doesn't go Infantry!
    3. Why does he want to shoot and kill people?

    I had to deal with #2 myself this past weekend. My sister-in-law made that statement (we dealt with #1 with her last year). This was really a variation on #1. I essentially ignored it but did state his MOS options in order of preference. You should have seen her eyes get wide when I mentioned Special Operations. I know just by looking at her that she's thinking he'll get killed.

    Now I certainly do not want my son to be harmed in any way. But if anything did happen to him while serving his country, at some level I'd be OK with it because it happened while he was doing what he always wanted to do. And someone's sons and daughters have to do it. Of course I would mourn and be full of sorrow. All my dreams for the future are bound up with him. But I'd like to find some way to (perhaps gently) tell such people off.

    Anyway, if I have a problem dealing with it I'm sure some of the new folks during this scholarship season will be facing these same, or similar, comments and will wonder how to deal with it too. Do any of you "old timers" have suggestions (and no, I don't really think you're old Pima! :biggrin: but would especially love to hear what you have to say about this)
     
  2. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,601
    Likes Received:
    35
    Snarky Answers:
    1) His/her odds of making it out of the military alive are better than they would be if I bought him/her that sports car you bought your kid.
    2) Why? You think he is that bad of a shot?
    3) If he wanted to do that, he'd just join a drug gang and make more money.

    Serious Answers:
    1) My choices are to support my child as an officer or watch while s/he enlists. S/he is 18 and I don't get much choice any more. And as choices go, this one has a lot of positives going for it including keeping out of trouble during college, getting good grades, being physically fit, and learning how to be a leader. The career path has plenty of promise and s/he will be around good solid citizens during his/her formative adult years.

    2) It is a dangerous job, but quite frankly all of them are. And what is the point of being in an honorable profession if you choose to run from an assignment?

    3) Actually, the military would just assume their enemies surrender up front, or at least be driven away, but that isn't always the case. It is a part of the job that isn't pleasant, but you know that the people you must put down are no longer going to threaten you, your family, or your nation.
     
  3. riroka

    riroka Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    0
    I usually respond with "how can you not?" Please tell me how getting up at 5:30am for PT (huge self discipline needed), attending Military science classes, learning survival and navigation skills and being taught to lead and work well with others is hurting my child. I tell people it is not about the money, it is about my children knowing they are part of something big that makes a difference. I gave AROTC a boy and they sent home an amazing young man equipped with the skills to succeed in any area of life!!

    I got this quote from facebook this morning...sums it up.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt quotes (American 26th US President (1901-09), 1858-1919)
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,539
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Great answers. Keep 'em coming!
     
  5. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,122
    Likes Received:
    58
    New favorite reply:thumb:

    Seriously, we haven't had too many questions lately. Our family, immediate and extended, pretty much all support and "get it". We have retired police officers(3) and 3 current fire/EMS personnel so risking personal injury is "normal "to our families. Plus a few of his cousins have recently enlisted Navy and Air Force.

    We got a lot of questions last year from other parents/kids who he was graduating with about the whys and oh, mys he could die....Since these people are not close friends or family we typically gave the "its his choice-he's never really considered any other career". I think once or twice someone wouldn't let it go and I made a snarky comment or two.

    I would also suggest for new families to consider turning the question back on the person - "why, what would you do if your ds/dd wanted to serve our country? Would you not be proud and support their decision?" Or use Goaliedad's great comebacks:wink:
     
  6. Bullet

    Bullet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    99
    Snarky answers:

    1) Take out a cigar, light it, blow smoke in thier face, and say: "Well, somebody needs to make sure your pansy of a son is safe to become a Wall Street trader so he can steal billions from the American public."

    2) "God, I sure hope so! We haven't been raising him to emulate Neidermyer from Animal House for nothing!"

    3) "I blame those violent video games. Say, didn't you get an Xbox for YOUR kid this past Xmas as well?"

    Serious answers:

    1) Over one MILLION men and women have served in Iraq since 2003. ONE MILLION. Unfortunately, over 4,500 have been killed there. 0.45% of those who have SERVED over there. I like his odds better than if he had to commute to work every day on I-95.

    More importantly, HE has chosen to do something noble with his life -- SERVE his country. Yes, this entails some risk. But it also has rewards your child will take YEARS to achieve, if ever. And I am more proud of the man he has become at this early of an age than any parent has the right to be.

    Besides, I didn't LET him do anything. I raised him to be an adult, it's his decision, and one I proudly support.

    2) Why not? Oh yeah, that "he could be killed" thing again. Again, his decision. But I will tell you this, as any infantry officer, he'll have more responsibility, more leadership, and more maturity than any other 23-year old could possibly hope to have for at least another decade. My son will be leading people and getting things done. Yours may end up moving into your basement after college.

    And when he is ready to leave the military, every major company will recognize that and hire him for those qualities and experience. Over YOUR child.

    3) The ones who least want to go to war are the ones who will have to fight them. But I'm proud that MY son, given the choice, is willing to put himself on the line to make sure YOUR child is safe. Same as a cop (who also carries a gun and may have to shoot and kill someone).

    He doesn't WANT to kill someone, but he also knows that this world is full of people that, if given the chance, would gladly kill YOU and YOURs. And someone needs to be there to make sure they don't get the chance.

    How about you just thank him for that?
     
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,539
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Thanks Bullet. I'm wondering though... how did you know I was a cigar smoker? :biggrin:
     
  8. Packer

    Packer Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    5
    Honestly, I don't pay much attention to those questions but when I do my answer is "It is his decision. My job is to make sure he has as much factual information as possible to make his decision."

    End of discussion. People that ask those questions don't have a clue and I find it highly unlikely that I am going to enlighten them so I am not interested in spending much time trying.
     
  9. craeder

    craeder Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  10. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,001
    Likes Received:
    301
    Absolutely.
     
  11. dunninla

    dunninla Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,866
    Likes Received:
    5
    which is kinda funny in the context of my brother's family... 2 kids, one commissioned out of USNA last May as a Naval Aviator, the other graduated two years prior from Northwestern and is an Investment Banker at Goldman. :thumb:
     
  12. RancidRancid

    RancidRancid Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not a parent but...

    Im always asked these kind of questions. They're annoying and I try not to pay much mind to them. Some of the things people say though, they just make you go.. huh?

    For example,
    This the one my father and I, always get asked

    "But, your (she's) so smart, so ambitious, why would you (she) want to do that (Marine Corps ROTC) "

    Honestly, what kind of a question is that!? haha so ridiculous.

    I just try to laugh it off.
     
  13. pilot2b

    pilot2b Candidate Appointee

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've had to face some of those comments. Most of my family and friends are fairly supportive though.

    Not nearly as bad, but still annoying are those who would like to be supportive, but don't have a clue what I'm talking about.

    example 1: "So you're heading off to boot camp this summer?" -- Not quite. Basic Cadet Training...

    example 2: "So I hear you got that scholarship..." :bang:
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,796
    Likes Received:
    930
    Bullet rarely posts here, but now you know why I am the way I am. For those who do not know he isnot only my better half, but my best half.

    A part of answering a question like this is understanding who you are answering when it is posed.

    In the end of the day, Bullet never answers snarky. I have never seen him do that in the 28 yrs together. Me on the other hand, I do! Shocker right? :eek:

    He is the epitome of an officer even when it comes to questions like this with regards to our DS. He just smiles, and change the subject to them, exactly on par with what Packer and Bruno stated! To raise a great officer, be Bullet, not me. Do not let them get a rise out of you. Children, even at 18, 19, 20 still see your actions, and now at this age they are more cognizant of them compared to when they were 8, 9 and 10.

    Trust me. those who get it, get it. Those who don't, won't. Smile, move on.

    I think for many, it is the worse when it comes from family members. Strangers, neighbors, acquaintances you can deal with, but when the family member can't share in the joy because of their political leanings it hurts personally with the questions.
     
  15. uniform 419

    uniform 419 GMU CDT

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    1
    This, nothing defuses a situation better than a confident smile and gently rendered mono syllables.
     
  16. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,539
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    That might depend on the chosen monosyllables. I can think of many that would immediately leap to mind yet wouldn't work. :biggrin:
     
  17. 49er

    49er Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2011
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess we are lucky as other parents and our friends are happy and excited about his decision to attend a SMC with a ROTC scholarship. My wife’s mother has come around after her initial concerns about serving and is now supportive of his decisions. Our son has actually experienced some of these questions from his own classmates: Why do you want to go to a military school? Why would you want to go in the Army after you graduate? Comments like “haha while you are marching around in circles I will be out partying”. He seems to have the same mind set as stated above “Those who get it, get it. Those who don't, won't.” He does wish more would “get it”. Luckily, most of his close friends "get it" but they are also the kids that have been involved in scouting, are varsity athletes and etc. Many of them are going to school on athletic or merit scholarships next year. Even though they do not plan to travel the same path as he plans, they respect his decision.
     
  18. pv123

    pv123 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    4
    Our DD wrote her entire college application about this particular subject and how over her high school career she handled both insulting and ignorant comments. She grew to see other people's perception of military service. She closed the essay with her excitement to wear her cadet uniform on campus so to represent her passion for military service. Growing up in Las Vegas with a fighter pilot father, she has experienced some incredibly ignorant comments by strangers and sometimes her peers. She has learned not be "snarky" and knows that these comments can be a learning opportunity instead.

    But, sometimes I want to reach out and slap people...
    for example, A valet parking guy saw my husband's active duty sticker on our car. When my hubby went to give him a tip, the valet guy grabbed the money from him and said "Thanks for killing children in Afghanistan!" and walked away!

    It took days to get my then 15 year old daughter to understand how people could say such things. But, once again it was a great learning opportunity for her and will carry over for her when she becomes a cadet this fall.:thumb:
     
  19. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,796
    Likes Received:
    930
    pv123, I get the snarky comments from peers because many within the military make them to the rated officer children...i.e. the common joke "Fliers make a million plus flight pay!"

    I recall a squadron function where it was a sign up sheet of who would bring what, burgers, hot dogs, sodas were furnished. We took chips and dip. My thought was buying 4/5 bags of chips, making multiple dips would cost more than a box of brownies, or paper plates. I thought we were doing the right thing because we were taking the most expensive items.

    Somebody actually wrote on the list "million plus flight pay"...snarky.

    I also understand the tag issue, we have had our fair share of jerks. That blue sticker is a blaring signal.

    Bullet and I elect to ignore the ignorant.

    For every negative story, we all have a heart warming story. I have told this one multiple times, but it really speaks about how our peers see our military loved ones.

    Someone picked up our tab at a restaurant for our family of 5. For us when we go out to eat it is appetizers, wine, entree and dessert. It isn't cheap. A total stranger picked up a $125 tab.

    You can answer the question of how could you, or you can smile, say I wish the best for you. That's what I say, and under my breath as I walk away I mutter the best you deserve...my kiss of death.

    Strangers are just that, strangers. They deserve not one second of your life.
     
  20. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    6
    When it's other parents of high school grads that are rude with questions like that, I said "We are so proud that our son will be defending our country and so blessed that we have saved over (input $$$ here) $150,000 (AROTC) or $375,000 (USNA) on his education. Thank you so much, please know that your tax dollars are being put to great use!"

    When it's a family member in my own home, I inform them that this is not a free speech zone. Either shut up or leave. Haven't had a visit from my mother in law or sister in law in years!
     

Share This Page