Just Waiting?

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by USNA69, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    The applications are submitted. The CFA is done. The nominations have been posted. Most of the DodMERB extra paperwork has been returned. All there is to do is sit back and wait. Right? Not really. This forum is dominated with parents. Parents who have been heavily involved in the application process. Parents who, themselves, have called DodMERB because “it’s easiest to get through in the morning when Junior is at school.”. Parents who have kept Junior “on track” every time he starts talking about how nice it would be to be in a fraternity down at State U. Maybe it is time to sit down and reflect over the last year and ask yourselves just why Junior has applied to one or several of the academies.

    Is it because he expressed an interest, or maybe you even planted the interest, and then you ran with it, never again getting his true feelings? Are you absolutely 100% sure it is what he wants? If he hasn’t been totally gung ho the whole time, have you ensured that he obtain all the information that he can off the internet and through other sources? Did you absolutely insist that he go to summer programs and to visitation weekends so he could see what academy life is all about? Did you listen closely to what he said when he returned? You didn’t tell him that he really didn’t need the visitation weekend because he had already made up his mind to go?

    Is she perhaps going because it is a “free” education? Do family financial concerns make a service academy a very viable education?

    Is he going to play football? During season, athletics are wonderful. Out of season, athletes, unless they are there to get a commission, tend to complain a lot. Some quit and call that other coach who had been recruiting them.

    Is it because she thinks USNA is a great prestigious institution that she would be proud to be from?

    Is it because from the age of six when he saw the Blue Angels perform at the local air show, all he has every wanted to do is fly airplanes?

    Is it because from the age of twelve, all she wants to do is serve her country in the military, and she doesn’t care how? Do you wholeheartedly and with absolutely no reservations support this decision?

    If it is not the last reason and perhaps the next to last, you both should sit down and truly examine why you are pursuing this quest. Why? If they don’t really want to be there themselves, they will leave. By the end of their second year when they can last resign with no further obligation, if they are there for a free education, they will decide that it is not worth it. Some Type A first borns will actually graduate because they don’t know how to quit. However, on selection night they will pick surface, even though they hate it, simply because it has the minimum active obligation. And then they will resign and get on with their “life”.

    It is the ones who truly want to serve their country that will excel at the academy. By middle of plebe year both their company classmates and upper class can pick the ones who are there to make the military a career. A substantial portion of that decision for the Class of 2011 has already been made. If they want a career, they will rationalize any of the BS they have to go through. The not so motivated, they will complain about getting up early in the morning, suffering through PE, and having to take all the irrelevant professional development courses. Twenty percent of the Class of 2011 will resign. Being qualified by the academic board all but ensures that they can make it academically. The only uncertainty is the will of the candidate to graduate. The greatest thing you can do between now and the end of June is to ensure that they have that will.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2007
  2. cga82

    cga82 Banned

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    You've hit on all of the necesarry topics to make the proper decisions.

    Perfect!
     
  3. jamzmom

    jamzmom Founding Member

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    Great conversation starter USNA69. A little soul searching couldn‘t hurt. A good many folks wonder why kids drop from the academies. That answer greatly varies & I have no advice to share. Some find its not what they thought it was going to be. Some can’t cut the academics but WANT to be there & try so hard to stay. Its gut wrenching. Watching 300 kids go in then seeing 100 leave USMMA was an eye opening experience. I saw an AFA kid last year who had an JROTC background go one day and leave because he said he considered that first day “hazing”. Same at USMMA. Two kids left the first night of Indoc. One kid got there and wouldn’t get out of the car. Who’s to say what went through their minds. It had to be crushing for both kid and parent but how do you help avoid having your kid be one of the statistics? How do you help them understand what to soul search for? I sure didn’t know what to truly make my kid think about when that appointment came through. You just live in the moment on that special day. He’d wanted USMMA at the age of 14 so I thought he had it all figured out. Looking back, there were a bunch of things he probably should have thought on. Perhaps he did… I’m just lucky that he knew his mind more than I did & he‘s following it through to the best of his abilities. Most parents have never dealt with going to a service academy so there’s no experience to pull from. Wow, its tough. The only thing helping in this are the voices of the kids that are there & you Alumni throwing bit & pieces of your knowledge out here to help with understanding a little of it. All USNA69 has said above hit’s the nail on the head but as a parent, you don’t know these things until later which doesn‘t help this day. I’m gonna go knock wood that my kid is still there, plugging away at the challenges.
     
  4. The Commissioner

    The Commissioner Retired Staff Member Founding Member

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    My college roommate and best friend spent his freshman year at USMMA. If I heard one sea story about life at KP, I heard a thousand of them. He went there as a 6'5" member of the basketball team and had to hitchhike back home to Michigan because his father wouldn't drive out to NY to pick him up when he quit. Why did he quit? Basically, you can take the boy out of the party, but you can't take the party out of the boy.

    My friend stewed on the weekends when his classmates were touring NYC and he was confined to the campus because of rules infractions. He didn't see his engineering education being of any value working on a ship, which he felt was nothing more than a "floating steam factory". He yearned to come home and attend his father's alma mater. He never missed a party at his new college and yet he graduated as one of the top chemical engineers in his class. He's done very well in civilian life.

    Given all that I learned about his service academy experience, which may not be all that different from others who quit, I've watched my son very closely as he's matured. Yes, he's one of those kids who has said, uncoached, that he wants a military career and would love to attend a service academy. I'm looking for that part of his personality incompatible with regimentation and conformance. I've seen a few instances of poor judgement when peer pressure couldn't be overcome, but most all of us are guilty of that in our teenage years. Fortunately he learned his lessons.

    As a taxpayer and a patriot, I don't want my son in a service academy unless I'm confident he will graduate and serve with honor. As someone who is frequently unemployed, I love the idea of not writing checks for tuition. But the country does come first and I can assure the academy admissions folks that I am probably more critical than they are. That's why I'll be disappointed if they pass on my son because I truly believe in my heart that he's cut out for this mission.
     
  5. cga82

    cga82 Banned

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    The kids have to want to do it. It's all about desire and work. My CGA class started out with 320 cadets and ended up with 155 graduating (typical 50% attrition back then). I road the fence all 4yrs - with an expulsion for 1 week my 1/c yr (spring midterms grades saved my butt) to finally graduating with a Cum. GPA of 2.0000000_ _ _. As we used to say 2 Oh and go! Everything else is a wasted effort..

    My son would never take his flight suit off at an early age. We would have to wait until he fell asleep and wash the thing so he could get back on in the morning. Many patches were applied to those threads. He graduated to digging holes (in the bazing Alabama summer sun with full Vietnam army surplus pack/helmet) all over our 5 acres- did I say holes-no they were more than just foxholes-some were bunkers(always concerned for the snakes that might want a cool spot). He would make gullie-suits and show the older kids how to do it. I would curse that kid for the all those holes when I would have to bush-hog it. Now-well, I like those foxholes.. He went on to collecting and studying just about every artifact from WWI and WWII(no doubt that he's an expert). You name the weapons he knows the specifics and variations (jap,german,brit,American,Rus). I have no clue of what he is talking about to other adult collectors-its like another language. Many collectors will get his opinion on weapons and prices. He collects them all. His mother thinks he got a ghost in his room from all the military stuff collected. Just as an example of what he collects -he saved and bought 2 complete autentic Doughboy uniforms. He knew all of the weapons/equipment at the West Point museum and corrected one of the curators on an incorrect label. His next love was to go the shooting range-where shot competively on his small team.

    I thought well he might go into the CG. Nope. Maybe the AF- double nope. Marines was his answer. He'll out grow it!

    I talked to my older brother who is a Navy Grad (fast attack sub guy) and had my son spend alot of time with him. Still Marines!

    I sent him to my other older brother-a West Point grad (airborne/ranger tank driver). This time Marines #1; Army infantry #2.

    I told him that I would not prefer that he pursue either #1 or #2. He said that's what I want to do. We told him that we would support and help him with his dreams. His not ours...

    My son called the NROTC Marine Option scholarship Capt. and withdrew his name. He explained in his interview when asked about applying to the Academies that the Academies were first on his list because he wanted to attend a completely military school. He told the Marine Capt. that he wanted someone else to get the immediate scholarship chance since he was already Appointed to KP.
     
  6. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Sure is good to see someone else telling the parents how it is. Too many of them live vicariously through their kids without considering if the kid should be at the Academy or not in the first place.

    You can go back and find a thread I started called "Some Advice For Parents". It dovetails nicely with what USNA69 mentioned, but more from the viewpoint of someone with a kid already admitted.
     
  7. jamzmom

    jamzmom Founding Member

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    Yeah Z. And then you’ve got the ones who want to Mom the kids to death. I fall strongly into that category. Constantly sending boxes of cold meds, cleaning supplies, & candy with a note in the box asking if they’re flossing. I have tried so hard to stay out of it but can’t seem to cut myself off from the daily stuff. I even send extra for his room mate who I’m sure has a Mom doing much of the same. Perhaps I’m bugging the crapola out of him but he’s too sweet to tell me otherwise? He’ll be gone to sea in about a month & I’ll have to stop cold turkey. I have a plan though. I still have a Coastie kid who might need me. BTW, whats your address Z? Have you flossed today? You realize that I really do deem this a little problem and could use some help.

    Funny stuff Cga. Hope your Ghost goes with your son. He’ll scare the bageebees out of the guys doing room inspections. They’ll just give him a :thumb: & move on.

    Commish, you shouldn’t worry. Sounds like he’s got TBS (tenacious bulldog syndrome). All academy bound kids have it but relax because its undetectable to DODMERB.
     
  8. The Commissioner

    The Commissioner Retired Staff Member Founding Member

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    This self-characterization is interesting because it appears to be consistent with other 'academy moms' I've met.

    I am well acquainted with two moms here in my very small town. Mom 'C' sent two kids to AFA. Mom 'S' sent a son to WP and two other sons to medical school. Both moms are what I call 'go-getters', i.e. hard charging, highly organized family leaders who are more outspoken and gregarious than their husbands.

    My wife doesn't fit into this category. She may have a few of the characteristics, but even they don't rise to the degree demonstrated by the academy moms. So, sometimes I wonder if my son has an academy mom or not, and if not, is that a detriment? It's like if one doesn't have an academy mom, how is an academy appointment possible? :confused:

    The upside to not having an academy mom is the kid has to have his/her own case of jamzmom's "TBS" in order to get the appointment. Maybe it comes from the dad's side of the family? :thumb:
     
  9. cga82

    cga82 Banned

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    The JM moms are rare. She puts things and fixes things in its proper prospective. They could build a 6th Academy and she would have everything worked out before the dust settled. KP is lucky to have such advocate!
     
  10. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    There are three types of candidates:

    First is the candidate who wants to serve his country as an officer, who does all the research himself, understands what the Academy is all about, and then, if not decided on a preferred career, is very well versed in the possibilities.

    Second is the candidate who is dealing with undue parental influence. The parents, through one reason or another, usually financial, want their kids to attend one of the academies. I have actually had candidates respond to the question of why they want to attend an academy with, "My mom thinks it would be a good idea" and stop, no further amplification.

    Thirdly is where the parents and the candidates take the journey together, supporting each other when necessay and questioning each other as necessary. Both are truly informed and it is a great team.

    The two things that cannot be ascertained in the on-line application is applicant desire and applicant academy and career knowledge. Does the candidate truly want to be there and does she know what she is getting into? The primary objective of the BGO is to ascertain the answer to this question. For the first two categories, it is very simple. For the third category, it can be more complex. The question of who is truly pushing the appointment must be answered, and if it is the parents, is it undue or is the candidate wholly and realistically supporting it.

    The majority of the applicants fall into the first category with an occassional second category. Only a few fall into the third, so Commissioner, your son will do well on his own.
     

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