New USNA Dad

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Dobbs, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. Dobbs

    Dobbs New Member

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    Hello! I am the proud but worried father of a class of 2015 plebe. So far the limited communications have been less than encouraging. My daughter has always been tops academically but was never an athlete. She left a good university after 2 years to pursue a military career. She worked really hard to gain admission to the USNA but now is doubting her decision and seems miserable. I know that it is a combination of tiredness and all the "yelling" that has shaken her. I am sending near daily brief letters of encouragement. I assume this is normal but I've come to the forums to read other folks commentary. I am sure I am one of hundreds of new USNA parents who feel this way but came to your site for reassurance.
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I know you're a Navy dad, and I'm air force, but the advice is neutral to any of the academies. Things to impress upon her.

    1. She is NOT the 1st, or ONLY person to be going through this. Plebes have been doing this for hundreds of years, and there are more than 1000 other plebes right next to her, going through the same exact feeling, stress, anxiety, etc... SHE IS NOT ALONE!!!

    2. The academies were not meant to be easy. If they were, everyone who be doing it. It's suppose to be challenging. It's suppose to be stressful.

    3. The purpose for all the screaming, is to break down your individuality. How do you take 1100+ individuals from 50 states and territories; all with different personalities; all with different backgrounds; all with different experiences... and make them perform AS A TEAM???? You break them down to the least common denominator, then you build a team from there. That's what the military is all about. Being part of a team. No one individual has ever won a war or battle. It took the entire team. You can't have all that "Unofficial Leader" psycho-babble that is formed in normal life. You need TRUE TEAMWORK.

    4. All of this, is why we, the United States of America, have the best military on the planet. That's why we're the best country. And for your daughter, she can be part of something bigger than herself.

    Emphasize the positive. Emphasize that there is not one feeling, emotion, action, etc... that she will have or do, that hundreds and thousands of other plebes haven't gone through themselves. Best of luck. Mike....
     
  3. Dobbs

    Dobbs New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I fully realize the systems rationale of the Academies and the impressiveness of the end product. I am mainly here to try to pick up on other folks experiences especially when it comes to beneficial parental support versus counterproductive support. Nice to be part of a big family.
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Just about every cadet has gone through what your daughter is going through, and every parent has too. My son is a BRAT. (Military kid). I'm retired Air Force. He was probably more prepared for the academy; in what to expect; than most cadets. Yet he too had his "Bad Days". I can't say he ever wanted to quit; he didn't, but there were a lot of "negative" letters during basic training. Was there anything I could do to help him? No, not a thing. The best thing I could do when we wrote, was to ask how others were doing in his flight. By asking him about others, it allowed him to realize that there were a lot of others with as much or more stress and doubt than him. I think that helped him put it into perspective.

    The best thing we can do as parents, is to simply let them vent. That's also part of their growing up and having to be responsible for their own actions. When they seem discouraged or doubting, just ask questions about what they have coming up. The only counter productive thing I think a parent can do, is to try and give advice. Especially a parent who was in the military. We can't imagine being in their shoes. No one can. Each cadet and class personality is unique. So the only advice I can give to not be counter productive, is to not give advice. If it gets really bad, and you child talks like they want to quit, simply mention that it's good that the academy gives you 2 years without commitment to change your mind. That once they're done with basic, and the see how the actual academics of the school is, they'll be able to have a better idea of how it really is. Basically, push out their goals and perspective a couple of months, so they don't concentrate on the negative of the moment.

    (By the way; I reply usually in anticipation of others ready this thread, and having similar concerns. I'm not implying that your daughter might want to quit or anything. I simply respond with a broad brush, so as to eliminate 20 similar threads). Best of luck to you and your daughter. Mike....
     
  5. AikiBudo

    AikiBudo Member

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    Dobbs - There is a Plebe Summer thread (as well as others) over at the Naval Academy forum that address some of these issues your dealing with although I'd say that Christcorp did a great job of covering alot of ground here.
     
  6. rkrosnar

    rkrosnar Member

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    Amen, Mike - you hit the nail on the head.

    RGK
     
  7. fly boy

    fly boy Candidate

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    When it comes to experience, Christcorp's your man.
     
  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I won't tell you not to worry, but all that stress and pressure (including what she adds to it, if she is the typical achiever) from various sources will teach her the skills to cope, adapt, work in a team, lead a team, stay cool, dig deep, persevere, prioritize and BELIEVE IN HERSELF in the most stressful situations that await her in her military career...could be dicey night landings on a carrier with no land for a thousand miles, could be helo ops for a medevac in a hot zone, could be a Marine convoy through unfriendlies, could be engine room fire at sea, could be a submarine emergency ......

    Let her vent to you, with lots of loving uhhums, because she will be sucking it up around her peers and detailers so as not to seem the weak one. Tell her she is strong, you have complete faith in her, that everyone goes through this, it is not forever, and USNA chose her because of their faith in her ability to get through this. Tell her she doesn't have to do it all at once, and if life right now is just getting through it an hour at a time, well, that's just fine. I expect one of the most shocking things for her, and one of the reasons she's feeling a bit lost, is she's not being treated as someone's daughter, a potential girlfriend, a college student, a BFF, but as a know-nothing military rookie, and by people just a few years older than she is, or since she's already had some college, the same age.

    Just look forward to that massive hug on PPW - hope you are able to go. That kind of hug we call the back-from-deployment hug, that first amazing shock of much-missed arms around loved ones. :thumb:
     
  9. billyb

    billyb Member

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    Hi Dobbs. I hope everything works out for your DD. Do you what I told my parents on my first phone call home when I was a plebe? Save the dorm spot at state U because I am coming home. I bet 75% of the plebes express regret early on, but it all works itself out. I graduated from USMA 4 years later. With every passing day of plebe summer, things get better. My guess is that she just needs some time to adjust.
     
  10. WVMcCoy

    WVMcCoy Member

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    Worried Dad

    Thanks for your post and sharing your thoughts. My wife and I have recieved alot of information, support and encouragement from our states USNA Parent Club and from the USNA Plebe-Parent ListServe.
     
  11. Dobbs

    Dobbs New Member

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    By the third letter the attitude and determination expressed by my daughter was like night and day versus the first. The Academy certainly knows what it is doing when it comes to training these kids. In her last letter she said that she was polishing her boots for the tenth time as she was really hoping her company would do well in the Drill competition. My daughter happily polishing her boots? GO NAVY!
     

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