Help persuading mom

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by alexlocnj, Aug 9, 2018.

Tags:
  1. alexlocnj

    alexlocnj Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2018
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    1
    So since last fall, when my school gave a presentation to the students about the service academies, I have been developing a passion to attend Navy. Growing up around water and boating, I had always known I wanted to do some sort of maritime career, so the being in the navy seems like a great fit for me. So with me going into my junior year, my family and I began talking about colleges in more than just a speculative way. When my parents asked me where I wanted to look, I told them Navy. Their response was just weird. They actually yelled at me for wanting to go to Navy. Everything from "YOU DON'T WANT TO GO THERE, THEY MAKE YOU JOIN THE NAVY FOR 5 YEARS WHEN YOU GRADUATE!" to "YOU'LL GET KICKED OUT BECAUSE YOU NEVER MAKE YOUR BED IN THE MORNING" (funny thing is that I do). Any suggestions to help me with the situation i'm in? I tried giving it time, and got my dad to support me, but my mom still shuts me down. We were watching a TV show and it started talking about the academy, and my mom reminded me that I am not allowed to go there. Should I maybe try to take a different approach, such as ROTC or OCS and see if that can change my mom's mind? The end goal is me becoming a naval officer, and obviously the Naval Academy is my top choice, but I am open to other options. Thanks, all help is appreciated.
     
  2. Keyboard

    Keyboard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2018
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Obviously, with any SA, it is hard for a lot of parents to understand what they are like. I don't know if you have any siblings or any of that, but if you are the oldest/only child it can be a scary thought for a mother that her child is going to be in the military. I would say personally just to remind them that in the end, it is your decision, and ask them to support you. I would also encourage other members of the forums, specifically the parents, to share their thoughts, and maybe help you help your parents understand what it is really like.
     
  3. jollyrogerUSNA

    jollyrogerUSNA Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    21
    When I attended a candidate visit weekend, our Q&A panel was terrific. Midshipmen joked about never making their beds but suddenly having tremendous responsibility once they were a midshipmen. They had a great point, that upon graduation from one of the finest institutes in America, you will have a very secure, well paying job. You will be surrounded by very smart, highly motivated people that will be like a family to you. Ask your parents if going to a regular university can guarantee that kind of successful outcome, let alone pay the tuition for you. My mom was pretty ill-informed about service academies in general and then after doing research, she was behind me 100%. The fact the govt picks up the tab for your education is great, but honestly, you have to want this 110%. I didn't want to spend the next few years partying at school, I wanted something with a purpose. If you truly want to be a Naval Officer, if possible visit the Yard. My parents fell in love with it immediately. The atmosphere, the people, the area in general was amazing. Good luck to you! I hope all works out.
     
    landlock likes this.
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    4,650
    Likes Received:
    5,809
    That initial reaction of apparently random objections from out of nowhere, as someone alluded to above, is the superficial articulation of “I don’t want you going anywhere near anything that could get you killed, but I can’t even voice that out loud or let my brain think it.”

    Show by your actions you are serious. Do the research, organize your application, ramp up grades and achievements.

    Turn negatives into positives. “Yes, I think that’s great I can trade 5 years of a guaranteed job as an officer, with full pay, medical and dental benefits, while learning job skills that will take me anywhere I want to go, for a full ride BS degree from a top school with access to the Service Academy Grad networks. Can I show you the Service Academy Career Conference (SACC) website?”

    Again, actions. Make your bed. Don’t make a big deal of it, just discipline yourself to do it, quietly, without fail. Demonstrate the desire.

    Your Dad will be a huge help as a communications bridge to your mom. Work through USNA.edu with him, and officer career websites. Organize a family visit to USNA, where you can all sit in at an Admissions briefing.

    And finally, “Mom, Dad, I know you love me and will always worry about me. You raised me to want to do the right thing and think of others. I want to serve our country as a naval officer, and I want to take my shot at applying to USNA. If I get in, I can go there for 2 years without incurring an obligation, and I can walk away, because they want me to be sure. I will also pursue NROTC and other scholarships at other schools, so I have plenty of options to think about. Will you support me as I explore what path my life will take?”
     
    golfindad, JRS92078, kinnem and 3 others like this.
  5. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2018
    Messages:
    896
    Likes Received:
    910
    Your mother's reaction isn’t unusual. Her feelings likely stem from two things: her innate desire to protect you (nothing you can do about that) and her lack of knowledge about USNA (plenty you can do about that).

    The key is to take it slowly. You have a year before you need to submit your application. Educate her, starting with a clear and consistent message about your goals following college — presumably, to serve your country as a commissioned officer. Talk about the level of responsibility, the foundation it creates for your career, and the sense of honor that goes with that.

    Then, tell her about the various ways one can be commissioned, eventually focusing on your desire to attend USNA. Show her a recent class profile, pointing out the high level of accomplishment among mids. Show her the parts of USNA’s website that highlight mids’ achievements — among them Rhodes Scholarships, high-level internships and other non-military accolades. And show her articles that favorably compare USNA to the Ivy League.

    Above all, speak of how USNA will develop you as a leader and a scholar. A slow yet steady drip, drip, drip is more likely to bring your mom around than a single loud and impassioned plea. As she sees your commitment and drive, she hopefully starts to shift her attitude toward support rather than resistance.

    Avoid the “well, once I’m 18, I can do what I want” approach. Getting into and attending USNA, and then serving at least five years on active duty, is tremendously challenging. You’ll want your mom backing you all the way. Best wishes to you.
     
    golfindad, JRS92078 and Capt MJ like this.
  6. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,203
    Likes Received:
    1,707
    I think everyone above is spot on with the conclusion this is mom being protective, and fear of the unknown. There are so many positives to the USNA education that a truly informed parent cannot help but support the decision. The education is second to none -- it might not be the strongest or most prestigious engineering or humanities program, but the combination of college education, leadership laboratory, and spending your most important formative years with some incredible people will help you in whatever endeavor you seek in life. It's easy for a parent to think of the 5 year commitment as a burden when you are 18 -- but when you are in your 50's, you recognize that time flew by way to fast. Having an assured job out of college is a good thing, and you may discover you love it and stay for 20+. Whether you are in for 5, 10, 0r 30, you will develop experiences and life skills that will last forever.

    PS - If Mom is really worried about making your bed, she should understand that there is a whole group of Plebe Detailers, Upperclassman, and friendly Company Officers to help you remember :)
     
    golfindad, MidCakePa and mommahedg like this.
  7. SAparent2023

    SAparent2023 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2018
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    42
    Our DS told us at the beginning of his sophomore year he wanted to go to either West Point or the Naval Academy. To be honest, both his mother and me were skeptical and his mother was not on board at all initially. We were not supportive initially because 1) we love our son and don't want anything to happen to him and a career in the military (especially infantry or marines) seems dangerous and scary; and, 2) at 17 years old, it is hard to think a person has the maturity and experience to make such a significant commitment. Parents want what is best for their kids. Maturity and thoughtful reasons why you want to serve, why you want to attend an SA and evidence that you have done some research and understand the commitment will win your parents over.

    It became evident over sophomore year and reinforced junior year that he was very serious and very committed. He wants to serve in the military and is committed to joining either through a service academy or ROTC at a regular college. As a father, I took a few months to get used to the idea, but I soon viewed the SAs as an excellent path (but not the only path) to achieve a career in the military. Moreover, I have tremendous faith in and respect for my son, his desire to serve, and his actions to achieve that objective. Mom came around more slowly but after visiting both West Point and the Naval Academy and after understanding our son's commitment to join the military versus just his desire to attend a Service Academy, she came fully on board. I will also say though, that Mom spent those first six months finding every movie from "Saving Private Ryan" to "13 Hours: Bengazi" and made DS watch them. Not surprisingly, it reinforced his desire to serve.

    Good luck.
     
  8. MidwestDad

    MidwestDad Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2017
    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    351
    Ultimately this is your life decision; nobody wants to alienate their parents but its way way too early to let their first reaction derail your ambitions.

    You said you are a rising Junior so no need to stoke the flames right now; get your grades and test scores in order and open up your 'pre-application' when available and the official candidate portal in Spring of 2019.
    Be proactive and independent - just quietly get all of your application stuff done next spring and summer including applying for MOC nominations. You might need your parents to give you a ride to the nomination interview fall of your senior year but cross that bridge when you get to it.

    The entire application process does not cost a dime if you elect to have your SAT/ACT scores sent to the SAs ahead of time so Mom and Dad don't have to write a check or sign any permission slips.

    If you persevere for the next 15 months and get a chance for a nomination interview their perspective might change.

    If all else fails you can always watch Officer and a Gentleman with your Mom . . . . they love that movie. ;)
     
    SAparent2023 and mommahedg like this.
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    10,614
    Likes Received:
    4,132
    1. Mentioning NROTC at a college of your choice would be a good idea as that should be your Plan B if you are not offered an appointment to the academy. It also helps solidify that you want to join the military as opposed to just attending the academy.

    2. If you will, in fact, be 18 when starting at the academy, then I disagree with MidCakePa about playing the "I'll be 18 and you can't stop me" card. However, I don't recommend you play it but, if possible, get Dad to play it. My wife had the same reaction when my son said he wanted to enlist in the Marines with his buddies. She went off the deep end. I supported DS in pursuing his dream. When speaking privately with her I mentioned he would be 18 so we couldn't stop him. It took a couple months and she finally came around, but she had conditions....
    a. College had to come first and
    b. He had to go in as an officer (she grew up not too far from Camp Lejuene and definitely did not want him to enlist based on her observations).
    And thus began DS' pursuit of NROTC, thereby meeting her conditions.

    One of the buddies he was going to enlist with did enlist in the Corps. The other ended up doing AFROTC.

    Parents want to protect their children, but they also want to encourage their dreams too. She may need time to deal with the tension between these two desires. It might also help to stress some of the humanitarian things the Navy does during earthquakes (Haiti comes to mind), hurricanes, building schools in places like the Phillipines, lives they saved from drowning. If you keep up with Navy Times and Marine Corps Times I'm sure you'll find examples.
     
    AF6872 likes this.
  10. bopper

    bopper Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2016
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    45
    If you are 18 when you graduate, then you don't have to get their permission. Just start preparing yourself for an academy (which will be also great for preparing you for college /ROTC) and then apply when the time comes.
     
  11. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2018
    Messages:
    896
    Likes Received:
    910
    The irony is, the more a 17-year-old knows and understands about the academies — the academic demands, physical rigors, limited freedom of movement, strict schedules — the more you have to admire their maturity for choosing that path. It’s a daunting commitment, and only a precious few are willing to accept it.

    This was the case with DW after DD declared — in the 7th grade — that she wanted to attend USNA. DW went into hard-core protective mode and resisted. But over the next few years, DD kept plugging away, demonstrating her commitment to becoming a midshipman and officer. After each visit to USNA — first STEM camp, then Summer Seminar — she returned more fired up than ever. Eventually, DW’s stance gave way to fully supporting DD’s dream. So to the OP: It can be done.
     
    bopper likes this.
  12. ders_dad

    ders_dad Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2017
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    177
    I have great empathy for the situation OP is in. The son of a good friend of ours set his sites on West Point when he was a sophomore. He was the whole package - great student, Eagle Scout, athlete. His father (a local politician and DS's Scoutmaster) was very encouraging but his mother (a Lutheran pastor) was horrified. She absolutely would not budge over the course of a year of lobbying. For a while, it seemed to tear that family apart, pitting mom's strongly held beliefs in pacifism against father's desire for his son to "be all he can be" and boy's dreams. The boy finally relented and gave up on his dream of West Point and becoming an officer out of respect for his mother's wishes. The boy (now a man) is a rising college junior at a very good Lutheran college. Mother won out. I don't know what the right answer is for OP but I think it is important to understand your mother's basis for objection and respect it.
     
    MidCakePa likes this.