Intro - Mom of 7th grader

Lmans77

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Aug 29, 2022
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Hello all, I am the mom of a 7th grader who is interested in aviation, ships, navy, coast guard - you name it. His goal is to be a pilot one day. He's a great student, naturally hasn't taken any kind of standardized tests except for the Texas Staar test, which he aced in 6th grade. I have little military knowledge myself so I was just doing some research on academies and what it takes to get in, and I see sports as a common theme. As I said, I expect he will continue to excell in his academics. He is also in band which he loves and will continue through high school. He completed cub scouts, did not do boy scouts last year but will start back up this year. The only thing he has never done much is sports. We tried as a small kid, but he was never very interested. I've encouraged him to try cross country this year now that he's in junior high school. He's not unathletic, enjoys biking, etc but he's just not done much that's organized. Any advice there and how important are sports?

Thanks!
 

AROTC-dad

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Welcome!

Sports are very important, primarily for the discipline and teamwork required to reach a common goal.

Cross country would be great choice and will help him become more prepared.

Best of luck to your son.
 

armypanda_

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Jun 27, 2022
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The only thing he has never done much is sports. We tried as a small kid, but he was never very interested. I've encouraged him to try cross country this year now that he's in junior high school. He's not unathletic, enjoys biking, etc but he's just not done much that's organized. Any advice there and how important are sports?

Thanks!
May be worth pin pointing what about organized sports he doesn’t like. The social aspect? Working as a team? The commitment? Being new to a place? Then you can reassure him or something
 

Humey

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Jun 21, 2016
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As great it would be to get into an academy, going through AFROTC is another way to become a pilot. Just understand that not everyone who does ROTC gets a scholarship although that may be changing as AFROTC will start giving scholarships for 3rd and 4th year if they qualify. It's very new and no idea how it will really work and if it will exist when your son goes to college. Less need for organized sports in Rotc although National 4 years Scholarships for Rotc probably do want to see that
 

Lmans77

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Aug 29, 2022
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Thank you all for your input. He's a pretty quiet kid, so I think he always felt a little out of place and like he wasn't as good as other boys. As time has gone on, the ability and skill between him and other boys has widened which I think makes him even less willing to participate. I'm going to really encourage cross country this year and maybe that can help his confidence to try other things. I always thought he might enjoy wrestling but that's another sport I know nothing about, but I will look into it.
 

Don't Give Up the Ship

BGO, USNA 2023 Dad & Former Navy/Merchant Officer
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Jun 21, 2018
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Thank you all for your input. He's a pretty quiet kid, so I think he always felt a little out of place and like he wasn't as good as other boys. As time has gone on, the ability and skill between him and other boys has widened which I think makes him even less willing to participate. I'm going to really encourage cross country this year and maybe that can help his confidence to try other things. I always thought he might enjoy wrestling but that's another sport I know nothing about, but I will look into it.
Pesistance in keeping with a sport is valued-"stick with it" is an excellent strategy. Suggest he continue with CC and include Track. If he works hard at Boy Scouts he will have the opportunity to build confidence. The BSA experience is widely variable depending on the Troop and how it's managed. If he liked Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts is more aligned with teaching and experiencing leadership by letting youngsters fail and recover-that in-turn helps build confidence. Good luck.
 

armypanda_

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Thank you all for your input. He's a pretty quiet kid, so I think he always felt a little out of place and like he wasn't as good as other boys. As time has gone on, the ability and skill between him and other boys has widened which I think makes him even less willing to participate. I'm going to really encourage cross country this year and maybe that can help his confidence to try other things. I always thought he might enjoy wrestling but that's another sport I know nothing about, but I will look into it.
Tell him there are tons of kids without much experience, and especially in high school (for me at least) the range in skill level definitely widened a lot. Not being at the same skill level as the others seems like a huge deal rn for him I’m sure, but in the end no one really cares, no one is really judging (and if they are because I know some do, it doesn’t matter anyways because what’re their judgments gonna do? They’ll forget about them in a week). Also encourage failure. Who cares if he’s the worst on the team? If he gets last, celebrate. It’s a great way to encourage going for things not worrying about failure. Just keep telling him it doesn’t matter in the long run. He may not understand now but he will later
 
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StPaulDad

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Feb 24, 2017
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My DD got the flying bug in seventh grade and locked in on the Coast Guard as her way to get wings. She never waivered and today is a 3C at USCGA. She was also a bandito (trumpet/french horn), played VB and ultimate frisbee, and spent a lot of time and effort building a good resume while enjoying high school. There are many stories about how to do this all over this site, and your son should start reading them.

In short: get in the tough classes, do well in them, find some extra curriculars that he likes and work on getting into leadership positions. find some way to get active and stay with it. The reason the academies like athletes isn't just their obstacle course times, it's because they have had to learn to work as a team, follow sometimes and lead at others, win, lose and work hard. There are ways other than organized sports to do that and he'll need to find one or two. Again, read up around here, as many others do it every year.

Then have him read all the pulldowns at all five service academy sites. The journey is doable for the right person, so he's just got to see if he's that guy. Know now that not everyone is, and there's absolutely no shame in that. Some don't want the military life at all, some prefer the ROTC model, and some want something different from the officer track. Just last week one of the students at USCGA chose to leave the academy and go enlisted. He went in as an E4, looked very happy. Have your guy do his research, stay enthusiastic, but be open to the path that feels best for him. Lots of ways to serve and he's still young. Good luck!
 

armypanda_

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I would also suggest starting to let him do things on his own. Being babied by a parent in high school can be very detrimental, and high school is where they figure out who they are. Start asking him to look into sports himself, clubs, etc. Let him know you’ll be there for help but the research process to figuring out high school and life on your own in high school has helped me grow a lot.

Of course he’s only in 7th grade, just advice for the future. Maybe research together so he knows what to do. I find when parents research on their own and then just put the kid in whatever they find, the kid has no real knowledge of what’s out there or how the world works.
 

Lmans77

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Aug 29, 2022
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I would also suggest starting to let him do things on his own. Being babied by a parent in high school can be very detrimental, and high school is where they figure out who they are. Start asking him to look into sports himself, clubs, etc. Let him know you’ll be there for help but the research process to figuring out high school and life on your own in high school has helped me grow a lot.

Of course he’s only in 7th grade, just advice for the future. Maybe research together so he knows what to do. I find when parents research on their own and then just put the kid in whatever they find, the kid has no real knowledge of what’s out there or how the world works.
I agree with this...I am actually a pretty hands off parent even though my post may not seem like it. haha. I never forced him to stick with baseball, encouraged him to give flag football a try which he moderately enjoyed but didn't want to continue. I'm going to get him involved with researching what it takes to get to his goals.
 

Heatherg21

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Our DS locked on to USNA and aviation in the 6th grade. Great student, athletic, and not into team sports. He didn't grow up in the small town where he went to school and team sports seemed to have a 'circle the wagons' attitude toward anyone who hadn't played pop warner, little league, etc. in that town.

He had wanted to try martial arts, so we signed him up for Tae Kwon Do. He spent a decade in that sport and excelled. He never did play organized high school sports. But his commitment to TKD demonstrated he had learned the lessons of being a teammate. He advanced far enough to be a teacher at his Do Jo and taught youth and adult classes. He played several instruments in the band for 2 years in HS, then dropped it to make room for Chem and Physics. He continued to play guitar on his own.

He is a 2/C now at USNA and has enjoyed intramurals since plebe year. He has no issues passing the PRT, except that I don't think he will ever be a stellar runner. He maxes all but the run. The point is, that you don't necessarily have to be a varsity football captain to get in or do well at a SA.

You do have to be willing to commit to something and follow through. You have to balance academics and practice, workouts, and running. You have to be willing to be coachable. You have to be a good teammate, know what losing feels like and improve. Be a gracious winner. When you get your butt handed to you in a TKD match, in front of a lot of people, you have to be willing to go to work, improve, and go back in the ring.

If your DS can find a sport that teaches him those things, and he can speak to those traits in interviews and essays, he will do well. I would encourage you and him to look at summer STEM camp at USNA and at the other academies (they all offer something similar) and to apply as soon as he is age eligible. They have no bearing on admissions but are great opportunities to experience time at the academy.
 

Lmans77

New Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2022
Messages
5
Our DS locked on to USNA and aviation in the 6th grade. Great student, athletic, and not into team sports. He didn't grow up in the small town where he went to school and team sports seemed to have a 'circle the wagons' attitude toward anyone who hadn't played pop warner, little league, etc. in that town.

He had wanted to try martial arts, so we signed him up for Tae Kwon Do. He spent a decade in that sport and excelled. He never did play organized high school sports. But his commitment to TKD demonstrated he had learned the lessons of being a teammate. He advanced far enough to be a teacher at his Do Jo and taught youth and adult classes. He played several instruments in the band for 2 years in HS, then dropped it to make room for Chem and Physics. He continued to play guitar on his own.

He is a 2/C now at USNA and has enjoyed intramurals since plebe year. He has no issues passing the PRT, except that I don't think he will ever be a stellar runner. He maxes all but the run. The point is, that you don't necessarily have to be a varsity football captain to get in or do well at a SA.

You do have to be willing to commit to something and follow through. You have to balance academics and practice, workouts, and running. You have to be willing to be coachable. You have to be a good teammate, know what losing feels like and improve. Be a gracious winner. When you get your butt handed to you in a TKD match, in front of a lot of people, you have to be willing to go to work, improve, and go back in the ring.

If your DS can find a sport that teaches him those things, and he can speak to those traits in interviews and essays, he will do well. I would encourage you and him to look at summer STEM camp at USNA and at the other academies (they all offer something similar) and to apply as soon as he is age eligible. They have no bearing on admissions but are great opportunities to experience time at the academy.
thank you for sharing and the good advice! I agree with the "circle the wagons" mentality...It can feel really clique-ish coming into it later.
 
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