two things i've seen that need to stop

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by Is2day4him, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. Is2day4him

    Is2day4him Member

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    i have to say there are two things that need to stop and i think this is the best place to put the ideas out there.

    first, parents... please take an enormous step back and quit getting involved in your kids issues. you ARE NOT helping them at all by going to bat for them. i've seen the level of parental involvement in matters that don't concern them in the least spike dramatically over the last few years, and as a result, our academy is falling apart. our regiment has no group unity and we've basically become soft-handed sissies as a whole. this is rather upsetting to me and many other mids. parents are a vital part of the support structure, but leave that between you and your mid. they're not little kids anymore and they need to learn to handle their own issues.

    another issue, is when you (or your kid) comes as a recruit, dress nicely, and get a sharp haircut. the last dozen or so recruits i've seen come in look like total bums (with the exception of one kid that showed up today). this does not make a good first impression. i've seen a lot of really shaggy haired, unshaven, saggy jean-wearing kids that are not impressing people with their style. if you come as a recruit, you don't have to go all sorts of formal, but slacks, a button up, and maybe a tie would do you some favors.

    thanks for listening and please know that i'm not aiming this at any one person, just some trends that i'm seeing that are starting to make a lot of us rather nervous about the future of our academy.
     
  2. fairwinds

    fairwinds Member

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    Is2day,

    Everytime I read a thread along these lines (parents too involved), I get blown away. What types of things do parents call the Academy about? And, more importantly, does the Academy act on these requests/complaints?

    I am sure there are helicopter parents at each of the Academies; however, KP seems to be the only one (just from what I've learned here) that actually takes their opinions into consideration. And, you believe that this in hurting the Academy. Can you be a little more specific? I appreciate your posts...we can tell that KP means alot to you!
     
  3. lgottliebdds

    lgottliebdds Member

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    As usual you are right on the money. Thanks for your involvement and thoughts. Perhaps it is also time for the mids to stand up to their parents.
    I know our Mid ( a plebe) would not tolerate anything from us other than support and a hug. Since we live close also a sandwich dropped off from time to time.
     
  4. Is2day4him

    Is2day4him Member

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    it gets complicated when asking what parents get involved in, but i've been told "i got a call from a parent,etc..." and as a result a arbitrary policy is inacted becaue someone got upset.

    with that, i am NOT saying that i won't help a plebe that needs it in any way. i'm still available and willing to talk to any plebe that has doubts or questions. parents can feel free to ask me anything at any time and i'll do what i can to help. however, also understand that there are times where i will (and have) told parents to just stay out of it.
    essentially what i'm saying is that if it's something that doesn't involve the parents (i.e. the kid thinks someone is being mean to them, or whatever) please don't get involved. you're not doing your kid any favors by doing this. it irritates everyone from the upperclassmen to the high brass. let the kids learn to stand up for themselves. it's their time to fly. :D
     
  5. nadofr8dog

    nadofr8dog Member

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    You know, it sure sounds like there is a severe lack of leadership at KP. This isn't the school down the street where some parent complains about Anne Franke's Diary because it discusses sex so the school takes if off the shelf. Every parent has a right to call the school, but the leadership at the school needs to be able to explain to the parent why something is done, if only to say it's a part of the training process. This takes leadership.

    In the same respect, upperclassmen cannot be given uncontrolled control over plebes. If you expect to have that, you are dreaming. There has to be responsibility for your actions up the chain of command and the chain of command has to provide the propper oversight. In my opinion this starts with the company officer. Leadership. He's got to be visible throughout the company and exhibit an direct interest in the going on's within his company.

    We parents should be cheerleaders for our DD/DS. Let them sound off on us, cry on our shoulder as the case may be, give them the appropriate pep talk and push them on. We've got to remember we're only hearing one side of the story. Those of us who've been through this, one of the service academies or even boot camp, should understand this.

    Unfortunately, one of the problems in today's electronic world is the ease of communications, specifically Skype or Facebook, which allows us to communicate daily (IM) with our DD/DS's. Dating myself, what would have been at the front of the brain today, would have been completely forgotten about at the end of the week, if we were that lucky, after standing in line at the payphones to finally make a call home.

    Ready for incoming!
     
  6. 2013Parent

    2013Parent Member

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    Sums it up nicely. :confused:

    Complicated / No first hand knowledge / abitrary new policy

    Are you kidding?

    What is complicated to one, may be simple to another and vice versa.

    But, no one outside of the all wise and all knowing student body should or could ever offer a report, a suggestion, or even ask a question that just might be worthwhile. (notice the word complaint was never used)

    After all this is the U.S of America. What right do we have? How could any of us ever think we had the brain power, education, maturity, social awareness or political skill to do so without sinking the entire student body? Or even worse, risking permanent damage to the self esteem, problem solving abilities,resourcefullness, and general leadership skills of our DS or DD. What's wrong with all of you? This is all tradition and it has worked for_______years. There is no way our feeble parent brain could comprehend.

    You've heard? - Speaks for itself. :eek:

    Arbitrary Policy enacted because someone was upset? - IF a policy change is enacted in any organization, it is usually for a bona fide and beneficial reason. Your comment suggests that the leadership at USMMA is so weak, that new policies are brought forth without investigation and without merit. I for one, certainly hope not.

    Asbestos Undies, Flak Vest, and Helmet on.......INCOMING! (borrowed that from you nadofr8dog)
     
  7. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    That's not a "parent" problem, that's a problem with the leaders of the USMMA.

    If a simple parent phone call can result in a policy change, just hang up a windsock to make decisions instead of hiring a new Superintendent.

    Your suggestion to "stop" would better serve KP if it were internalized and directed back at the leadership of the USMMA.

    Exactly.
     
  8. Is2day4him

    Is2day4him Member

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    i reckon that's a good point. bottom line, is regardless of who is doing things, the school's regimental system has fallen apart.
     
  9. NavIss58

    NavIss58 Member

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    is2day, I'll go with some responsibility on the parents part, but not so much. Not at this age. I am the parent of a USNA M/C and fortunately for me (and him) he's listened over the years (of parental training), not always, but mostly. He sees the benefits of dressing wisely (neatly when appropriate), you know "don't wear you hoodie up, it makes people wonder what your up to", and "wear your pants up on your waste". He keeps his hair short (it gets 'long' at a half inch). But I'm lucky, and so is he.

    I talked to him about the kids we saw at the Nomination interviews, "what was he/she thinking? wearing his/her sports jersey', 'can't he get a hair cut just this once?' And 'that suite looks like he just came from a 70's wedding reception'. Not all kids get it like you. Not all parents let their kids have the space or direction they need. Others have said it (this issue you speak of) is a reflection on the SA leadership. I say it's reflection on your ability to be a leader. Seems to me like your taking the same route bit*:>g and moaning about it instead of doing something about it. Yeah, it's a harsh reply. Stand and get a hold of yourself man! Shake off that sissy whining.

    Have you considered speaking to those kids 'still under the influence' you speak of, to stand tall and on their own. Some burden of proof lies with the Cadets. Why do their parents need to call is a good question, but more important IMHO, why do the kids still need to call mommy when it gets tough? Answer: because that's all they've known.

    It starts with you. Make the difference you want to see, after all, you are going to be a leader, right?. Thank you for pointing this out.
     
  10. nadofr8dog

    nadofr8dog Member

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    I would opine that it's the parents responsibility to ensure their kids are appropriately dressed for an interview. Kids showing up inappropriately dressed show they have a only "passing" interest in KP, or thier parents are more interested in their coming to KP than they are.

    Anyone who considers this a "college" interview doesn't have the big picture. This is CAREER interview!
     
  11. ParkerMom

    ParkerMom Member

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    I am in agreement that there is a severe leadership problem at KP.

    I am also in agreement that the regimental system is in trouble, and that worries me a great deal. I think the quality of the regimental system is one of the elements that makes KP THE premier maritme training school in the country. If KP loses that, it will have a profound negative effect on the school.

    Of course, those two issues are related. The lack of leadership negatively affects many, many aspects of life at KP, and the regiment is particularly vulnerable to this lack.

    I share Is2day's concern about the regiment, because due to the nature of the beast - the quick turnover of midshipmen officers - it only takes a year or two of weak leadership to effect a permanent change in the culture (because the institutional memory is so short).

    The fact that parents have much more opportunity for 'real time' communication with their plebes does, I believe, make the necessary separation between parent and 'child' (more like young adult) much easier to 'postpone', to put it kindly, then it was in the days of snail mail and a weekly 5 minute phone call. Maybe it would be better if the rules went back to just email (no Skype or IM) and a 5 minute Sunday phone call. (I'm sure THAT suggestion will make me popular!) Although it is hard for me to believe, it seems there is a real problem with some (too many) plebes not being able to learn to stand on their own two feet and live their own lives, and parents not being able to let them, or to encourage them, to do so.

    But, while there needs to be some changes made to minimize the helicopter parenting, the REAL change that needs to be made is in the leadership, AT ALL LEVELS, at KP.

    Bottom line: KP needs a new, strong superintendent ASAP! But that alone will not solve all of the problems, unless he/she is superhuman. Each individual at KP needs to step up, pull together with their peers, respect their superiors and do their duty to the best of their ability.

    Something valuable is in danger of being lost and we all need to do what (little) we can to prevent that from happening.
     
  12. NavIss58

    NavIss58 Member

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    I do agree with that opine, dog. As I've said, we're doing okay in that respect, and it might very well be why he got in.

    But I can only imagine how many parents are out there trying to tell their kids to dress appropriately, speak clearly, look the interviewer in the eyes when you speak to them......etc, etc. only to have a very resistant person on the receiving side. That's a thread for a different forum though.

    It's all said and done at that point for the parents. By the time you reach 18, you either get it or you don't. But I think there's still hope for those that just might be in 'personal confliction' at that age. Even gold when just brought forth from the earth needs some refining to become the jewelry we all value.

    I hold to my original post, I think its a good opportunity for Is2day to practice some leadership skills and refine these cadets into officers (I believe that's the 'leadership' others were speaking about). Show them by example what it is to be a leader, not a complainer. He seems to be taking the same tact as the others, just complaining about it, but not really doing anything about it.

    And BTW, Is2day, I'd also suggest you keep quiet and let your uniform do the talking, don't you rekon?
     
  13. shellz

    shellz Parent

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    At first I was a little jealous of all the communication going on between the cadets/mids at the other academies....facebook, skype, IM....now I am grateful for the restrictions. I am sure lots of little complaints (and maybe some bigger ones too?) get forgotten before our (sometimes) weekly phone call home.

    I hope this problem gets taken care of...and I agree with the idea that the change needs to come from the plebes. If you can't break from mom and dad's control, how are you going to become an officer, a leader, in today's military? Scary thought.
     
  14. nadofr8dog

    nadofr8dog Member

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    Most strongly recommend RADM "Bear" Pickavance USN/Ret, be considered for the next Supe. He is currently at Texas A&M Maritime. I know, the same place the last Supe came from but Bear is cut from a totally different cloth. He is doing an amazing job rebuilding A&M Maritime following the hurricane which wiped out Galveston two years ago.

    Adm Pickavance is a no nonsense operator. He's been a Carrier Commanding Officer and Battle Group Commander. From his bio: RADM Pickavance is a graduate of Texas A&M University at Galveston and the Texas Maritime Academy (class of 1968) and has had a distinguished career in both the U.S. Navy and in private industry. Most recently, he served as Vice President and Deputy Program Manager of Florida Operations of the United Space Alliance.

    Honestly, I think the Naval Academy needs him much more than KP and, I'm guessing, it would take an awful lot to lure away from his current position.

    FWIW
     
  15. nadofr8dog

    nadofr8dog Member

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    Shellz - I can tell you for one, I'm very happy with the daily communication (IM) we receive from our mid. It gives him/her a chance to blow off steam, vent about things that went wrong and just plain talk to someone without worrying about what they say. We use this time to listen, advise, try to explain what's going on or just not let whatever/whomever's upsetting them get under their skin and affect their studies - grades are everything!

    Believe me, the umbilical cord is cut, but our mid is suffering through the same Calc and Physics as discussed in other posts. Sometimes you can help tweak the way their studying, give them another avenue of approach or just remind them you're behind them no matter what happens.

    I suspect once our mid survives plebe year and they are recognized, the IM's will begin to decrease significantly but, for the time being, we are enjoying them.
     
  16. shellz

    shellz Parent

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    I'm glad it works for you. For us, however, the comfort comes in knowing that our son is turning to his shipmates for help/advice. They have a far better understanding of what will help him get through the tough times. I, as a momma-bear, just want to "fix" everything for him...it's my one (lol) weakness. So, in all truthfulness, the lack of involvement on our part is therapeutic for all concerned.
    That's not to say we haven't done our share of listening to some minor complaints. Happily, they are few and far between, and as time goes on we are learning to not try to "fix" the problems. (as if we could...) Actually, I don't think we've given any advice, except for stay well, study hard, have fun, and call if you need cookies. :)
     
  17. ParkerMom

    ParkerMom Member

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    While I really do empathize with the kind of communication you describe, nadofr8dog, between parents and plebes, and goodness knows plebes often need as much of a sympathetic ear and encouragement as a parent can provide, perhaps if the plebes didn't have the opportunity to communicate so easily with their parents, they would turn more to their fellow plebes both to offer and receive support. If I am correctly intepreting what Is2day is expressing, part of the problem with the regiment is that, particularly as concerns the plebes, strong bonds are not being formed between and among midshipmen, the kinds of bonds of friendship and respect that kept the regiment strong in years past and that classmates maintained throughout their whole careers, not to mention their entire lives (witness the kinds of relationships among classmates one sees at homecoming).

    Without a strong regiment, THAT is the sort of value that is in danger of being lost at KP, and that can slip away as part of the culture of the school in just a couple (literally) of years.

    I don't mean to imply that parents talking often to their kids is the problem at KP (I email my DS almost every day about something or other - not that he emails me back quite that often :rolleyes:) it's just that that ease of communication can have the effect of causing plebes, especially, to hang on to home as their primary source of support on a daily basis rather than turning to their roomates/companymates/classmates for support or working with their classmates to solve problems.

    It's that sense of cohesion - "we're all in this together" - that's in danger of being lost.
     
  18. ParkerMom

    ParkerMom Member

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    LOL! That's pretty much it for us, too!

    Oh, I forgot "get enough sleep, stay strong, and keep a positive attitude". Any more platitudes to add?
     
  19. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Perhaps the regimental system at KP should be abandoned?

    Perhaps KP should simply become a full-time Federal maritime training academy, focusing entirely on maritime training, and completely eliminating all aspects of military indoctrination and military regimental adherence?

    Or perhaps a "part-time" or "optional" regimental system can be placed for certain areas of study/majors, while others who are majoring in something else can "opt-out" of the regimental system, similar to the system at Maine Maritime?

    :cool:
     
  20. ParkerMom

    ParkerMom Member

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    Luigi59:

    Short answer: No.

    Less short answer: HELL NO!

    Since I have expended my energy for the day, I will leave it to others to ably give the long[er] answer.
     

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