Is it ever too early to sow the seeds of a service academy?

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by HopefulParentTexas, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. HopefulParentTexas

    HopefulParentTexas New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, my son is only seven months old and I truly desire him to attend a service academy. I guess it is my regret in that I was nominated to the USAFA an did not attend. Its one of my greatest regrets in life! That being said, what do you all recommend I do to get my son ready early in his life to compete for a service academy slot?

    Thanks
     
  2. MakeItHappen

    MakeItHappen Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    You must be a transplant, cuz I hear that TEXANS ARE BORN READY! :worship: :rocket:
     
  3. ParentMN

    ParentMN Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    7 months to 17 years

    My son is 17 years old and a candidate for admission to USMA 2015. We, as parents, did not do anything to groom him to be competitive candidate, he did so himself, naturally. He always enjoyed reading at an early age, there is no doubt that has helped him academically his whole life. He played a variety of sports from 5 yrs old to high school. The last 3 years he has really stepped up the weightlifting and conditioning for Track and Football. He took advantage of leadership opportunities through school. All of these components have helped shape him into a good person and qualified candidate. Most importantly, in my opinion, he and our family have a strong faith which has always provided us with a strong foundation. So, enjoy your son, every moment, good and bad. Support him in whatever decisions and future HE chooses. Trust me, those baby steps turn into wings before you know it!
     
  4. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Messages:
    828
    Likes Received:
    1
    Run, he needs to start running! Plebe summer or beast or whatever is hard and the best way to prepare is to run!
     
  5. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,886
    Likes Received:
    232
    JennyP: I think he might need to learn to walk first.

    :rofl:
     
  6. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 Parent

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    162
    Two points:

    A. Please tell me you are kidding with this.
    B. The desire to attend must come from within the individual if they are to make it through to graduation.

    You will read it all over these boards: one of the worst reasons to attend a service academy is to please someone else. If the oft referred to ‘fire in the belly’ isn’t there from the candidate themselves, then an appointment should be declined so someone with that fire can step into that spot.
    I kind of know where you are coming from though. I have lived at both West Point and Annapolis, as a civilian. My two boys have obviously been exposed to both academies. Would I love to someday see either of them in cadet gray or navy blue? You bet I would. I would love to raise sons that would have the qualifications to earn that outstanding opportunity. Will I ever push either of them toward that? Not one iota. That’s because I understand my own Point B from above.

    It is great to have hopes and dreams for your children when they are very young. But by the time they become teenagers their hopes and dreams are their own, and parents really should not interfere based on their own desires. Sometimes parental pressure to attend an academy can be immense, and I’ve known far too many cadets and midshipmen who were there because that’s really what mom and/or dad wanted. It makes for a pretty miserable 4-year experience.

    It is not about how great your cadet looks in their dress uniform at church when they are home over holiday break. (And I’ve never understood parents who feel a need to display their emancipated adult child for their own satisfaction like this.) It is not about the pomp and circumstance of parades and attending football games on beautiful fall weekends. The reality is, it is day-to-day exhausting tedium and drudgery for your kid, punctuated by occasional amazingly high points that they will remember forever.

    I often wonder if some parents would be so gung-ho about their child attending an academy if there weren’t all the attendant bells and whistles. The shiny veneer that makes it all look so wonderful from the outside. Would a parent be just as excited and proud to see their child enlist? Because you must remember that they are joining the military. Congress could graduate them early and send them directly to war. (It’s happened twice at West Point.) The desire to serve must come from within, and I’m not really sure that any outside force can plant that seed.
     
  7. philmont

    philmont Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    4
    Right on the mark!
     
  8. OBXmom

    OBXmom Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dear Texas,
    I'm sure I will get jumped for my reply, but I don't give a rip.
    Let me share a story...
    My brother, in addition to being an exceptional student, won the junior olympics in wrestling and went to Japan and won a world tournament (all during his high school career). Needless to say he had many full scholarship offers and an appointment to the Naval Academy. My father, being the ever practical parent, offered to buy my brother a car his junior year if he took one of the full scholarships and offered to buy him any car he wanted junior year if he took the appointment to the Naval Academy. My brother chose the USNA, and junior year he brought back a Porche 911 Carerra from Germany. He graduated and has lead a good and prosperous life. He has since given the car back to my dad as a thank you.
    When my son was seven, we visited grandpa, and my son was flabbergasted with the cool car grandpa owned. He asked grandpa where he got it, and not only did grandpa relay the story, but he offered my seven year old the same deal! From that day forward, my son knew (not just thought or hoped) that he would go to one of the academies. He spoke of it often, wrote school papers about it, told his friends about it. It opened the door for numerous lengthy conversations through the years about what it takes to get in, and what it means to attend. As he got older, he learned many other reasons for attending...reasons that eclipsed owning a cool car. Bottom line is this: my son's goal effected many many decisions he made throughout his life. Those "good" decisions lead to him being appointed to USAFA. He could have changed his mind any time along the way and it would have been fine with me, but I did support his goals. I did use his goals to remind him many times of the importance of making wise choices. I used my own form of bribery many times (all through middle school and high school, if he received straight A's, he could wear his hair any way he chose). At times it was painful to stick to my word (several boxes of hair color and a few years of not seeing his eyeballs).
    There's not a day that goes by that I'm not grateful to my dad for making that deal with my son all those years ago. There's not a high school teacher of my son's that wont tell you what a mature attitude he had about his schoolwork. There's not an administrator in his middle or high school that wont tell you that it was his focus that kept him out of trouble and made him stick out as a leader.
    The decision does have to be your child's. But its our god given duty as parents to raise the best children we can raise. Use every tool you have at your disposal. Find their hot button, and make them a deal, and stick to your word, not matter how painful either way. Some will call it bribery, but it teaches delayed gratification. It teaches the benefits of working towards a goal. Regardless of their ultimate decision, they will be better served having a goal. The goal may change several times as they grow up...for my son it did not.
    Moral of the story: It has to be their choice...bit it's never too early to have a goal.
     
  9. Ectriso

    Ectriso Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know this section of the forum is for adults. However, as a junior in high school who is going to apply to the service academies, your child just needs your support as a parent more than ever. If he wants to attend a service academy, then it is his goal to work towards. That is not to say that you should not have a discussion with him when the time is right (preferably when he can hold an intellectual conversation :wink:). I can tell you how difficult it is to stay committed to my goal of attending USNA when my whole family is 100% against it. Even though I know it would upset them tremendously if I went to a service academy, I know it is my life and my decision. To sum it up, it will mean a lot more to your son to have your support with whatever decision he makes for his college and his future. You can influence him, but ultimately it is his decision.
     
  10. Azmomm

    Azmomm Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    9
    OBXMOM, I love your story. It could easily be the same as in our home. Those lessons of delayed gratification, goals and good choices are never wrong. We never told our daughter to aspire to military service but she told us that is what she wanted when she was still in elementary school. She wrote letters to west point. She recently received news of a 4 year ROTC scholarship and I am so very happy for her. My husband and I were both in the military - he is a retired officer and I was enlisted. I couldn't be prowder.
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    hopefulparentTexas: As already said so eloquently by others. Your desire for your son to attend a military academy is totally irrelevant. It's not important and it means nothing. And as hard as it is to hear, NOTHING you do can help get him an appointment 16-17 years from now. Only if your son wants to go to a service academy, and only if HE works hard in school, and only if HE does well academically, athletically, socially, etc... does he even have a chance to attend a military academy.

    Your job is to teach your son morals, ethics, values, and respect. If you do this, then all you have to do afterward, is to support him in whatever decision he makes. Whether it's a service academy, Harvard, Local Community College, Becoming a Priest, opening up his own business out of high school, being an artist, etc... And FWIW: His ambitions, dreams, goals, desires, etc... will change EXACTLY 5,538 times between now and when he turns 17. Just about every day. Don't live vicariously through your son. Give him the tools to make the best decisions he can make. It's his life, it has to be his decision. Best of luck to you. Mike....
     
  12. mom14

    mom14 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great post OBXmom. Whenever our kids expressed an interest in a career my husband always told them "you know where the best____ are from?" And he would tell them the institute and a little about it. Once our daughter wanted to be a chef, so it was the Culinary Institute of America. When our son wanted to be a policeman it was the FBI. When he wanted to be a pilot it was USAFA. From then on he wanted to go to USAFA and like OBX's son, it influenced his choices and behaviors. We realized long ago that if you set high expectations and provide appropriate support, kids will achieve highly.

    So, of course seven months is a bit early, but provide opportunities and support and stand back and watch your kid achieve. And if it doesn't include an SA, embrace what he has chosen and support him fully! If you push too hard he may push back and reject your choice. It is his life, after all.

    Also, start saving NOW for college. If an SA is in his future then you can buy him that car or go on a European vacation or whatever!
     
  13. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    21
    Preparing early for a service academy

    Sorry, couldn't resist this. My DD who is a candidate for USAFA said after reading your post, " better start community service when she turns 8 months!:smile:"
     
  14. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    Messages:
    378
    Likes Received:
    29
    I'm going to jump in here a bit although like Ectriso said, I know this area is for the parents of kids at SA's, but my parents had a ton of influence in my life and decision making especially when it came to wanting to attend a SA.

    Both my parents have served in the Army, and my dad is still active duty which has opened both my brother and my eyes to serving in the military. My dad's duty stations have had us living outside USAFA, on USMA, and on USNA (no joke, its been an interesting ride) so we've had some pretty decent exposure to each of the service academies as well. That being said, they never pushed my brother and my need to go to any of the SA's.

    Instead they tried to instill the values that they have in service to our country and being a good person overall that constantly challenges one's self. That led me to my desire to attend WP and I can't wait for the end of this year. I know I have my parents' total support, but I know that if I had decided to pursue other opportunities such as a more traditional college experience they would also support me (maybe the only one they wouldn't be so supportive of was a choice to ditch the idea of college in general :p) Anyways, I'm very thankful for my parents, and I know its a great deal of the reason I am who I am today because they are such great people.
     
  15. jbowman55

    jbowman55 USNA Parent 2014

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    0
    Never, never, NEVER tell your son you want him to go to a service academy because you didn't. It's not about you.

    Teach your children integrity, love of country, service to others, love of learning. Read to them regularly and let them read to you later. Encourage competition without cruelty. Encourage self-knowledge.

    Remember that children are like fruit--they spoil when you leave them on the shelf too long.
     
  16. MIHOSER

    MIHOSER Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    17
    When my wife was pregnant, we would play a recording of the Navy hymn to the fetus. It must have worked, because that son is a Plebe today.
     
  17. HopefulParentTexas

    HopefulParentTexas New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the posts!!
     
  18. HopefulParentTexas

    HopefulParentTexas New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    LOL!! I am doing the same thing and hoepfullly it works for us too!!!
     
  19. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,952
    Likes Received:
    4
    How about letting HIM decide on his own?

    It's one thing to inform him of the options the SA's offer; it is quite another to actively push him in that direction because of regrets you have over decisions YOU made.

    Don't make your kid be the one who is at USxA because "Mommy and Daddy wanted me to attend." It makes for a miserable experience...... for the KID.

    My two cents. Worth what you paid for it....


    ETA: It would seem others have beaten me to it. :smile:
     
  20. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    2
    Have you ever considered that pushing your child toward something (i.e., a SA) can lead to exactly the opposite outcome?

    As others have said, simply focus on helping your child to love learning, to give back to the community, and to lead a healthy, active life. To be honest, the only difference between being prepared for a SA versus any other top college is the physical preparation.

    I DID do the "car bribe" with my daughter while she was in middle school, but it was simply to get a full ride scholarship anywhere, not specifically to a SA. Having that goal really did help her to focus on doing well in school.
     

Share This Page