My moms is against me joining...


New Member
Dec 10, 2017
I am a high school senior, and I have plans to attend university while enrolling in ROTC. Some of the schools I have applied for/will apply for include Virginia Tech and Texas A&M. I know deep in my heart and mind that I want to serve this country as an officer. I can use my education and skills and apply it in the military, and when I exit, I can find a good job. However, my mother thinks otherwise. She thinks I would not be successful and not learn anything valuable. She tells me stories of how many veterans end up in the streets and have nothing. Instead, she just wants me to graduate from college and get a job. But, I don't see myself doing that. She thinks it is a waste money just so I can get trained, thinking I will not earn my degree. She doesn't want me to join after college because she plans to pay for my expenses even though I tell her I will find scholarships. She thinks it is not worth the money. She also thinks that serving is a joke. Another argument she makes to persuade me not to join is that the military is highly bureaucratic. How should I approach this?
I need to start out by saying that serving is “no joke”.

This veteran started on the streets at the age of 15. I got myself through HS and lived with different relatives, friends and even under a bridge. Joining the Navy was not a way out for me it was something I wanted to do, it gave me hope and opportunities. Today I’m a very successful engineer and most importantly a husband to my bride of 27 years and father to three great kids. One son is working on his masters, one son will commission in May and my DD waits like so many other kids with the hope of the Naval Academy or NROTC.

If I thought for even a second that the Navy or any other branch of the military would have a negative impact or reflection on my children I would redirect them. I who have served and who can talk about the military intelligently would have redirected my son and daughter. Make no mistake we have Veterans on the street but don’t think of that as being primarily their fault or the fault of the military. The MOC’s make sure they take really good care of themselves for when they have completed their service in cozy Washington. What they are not taking care of is the veterans that need it.

I’m a street kid; I could care less what my family thought about me and my decisions to serve. I have no regrets and I would do it all over again and again. I can’t tell you what to think or say (as like my own children). What I can say is all three of my kids have though about serving, two are taking that journey. I love all three unconditionaly and support them no matter what journey they take. It’s their decision not mine!
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How old are you? If you are 18 and don't need financial help from your mom to attend college then you do not need her permission.

DS wanted to enlist in the Marine Corps after college. Mom was totally against it. I privately kept informing her that when he graduated he would be 18 and could do whatever he wants. She finally came around with the proviso that he go to college first. That's when he began looking into NROTC. He received a side-load scholarship during his sophomore year and is serving as a 1st Lt in Okinawa today. He's sailed through the Panama Canal, been to Korea (on "business"), and Hong Kong (for pleasure). He's meeting his girlfriend in Australia for a couple weeks over Christmas. Join the Navy! See the world!

He's planning on doing 6 years to build up enough GI Bill benefits to pay for a Master's Degree. He's still not sure what he wants to do when he gets out. His Mom is his proudest supporter.

And, oh yeah, the leadership training is outstanding. DS's platoon is 78 Marines strong. Where else does a 24 year old get to lead that many people? You might also let her know that most Navy midshipmen successfully complete highly technical degree programs while doing NROTC. Navy has some of the best engineers in the world. There is a minimum GPA that you must maintain and they provide tutors for at least some of the classes to help you succeed. If your GPA isn't quite up to snuff there are usually mandatory study hours where you need to sign in and sign out. It's not all about playing sailor. Academics are extremely important to the military services.

So.... if your 18 I would hang tough all the way. You might have to cave at the last minute if you need money for college, but she might come around. You might also try to talk so someone you both respect, perhaps a minister, guidance councilor, politician, police officer, etc who could perhaps then talk to your mother about your desire to serve. If you look like you really want it, instead of just rebelling against Mom, I think your chances will go up.
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That’s great advise and highly recommended. Together meet with a 3rd party such as what Kinnem noted. Rebelling is not a good idea.

Good luck
Doing a stint in they military, especially as an Officer/Leader is quite possibly one of the absolute best paths you can take for your life/career outside of and after your military career ends. Businesses and Fortune 500 companies love hiring managers from the military because they know that the training they have received is top notch. My son was assigned a branch in the Army that he doesn't really care to be in but he is now realizing how great it's going to be to be able to inform future employers that he was responsible for handling hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment. How many kids graduating college can say that they did that or were responsible for a platoon of 60 soldiers? I'll tell you....NONE.
To add onto k2rider, my DH served proudly, and my DS is now serving, both went/are AF.

I don't know which branch you are looking at, but here are somethings that I would say to her.
1. Lockheed, Boeing, GE, Pratt & Whitney, Booz Allen, SAIC, L3Comm, FBI, CIA, DoD all love to hire military over anyone right out of college!
~ Military members will have a security clearance which costs thousands of dollars to them if you don't have one.
~ Military members know how to speak military jargon. IE the F35 is now operational. Hard to work for Lockheed as an engineer if you don't know what a 4V4 triple turn means. A Navy, Marine or AF officer, pilot or maintainer knows exactly what that means.
2. Networking
~ The military is HUGE, but once you get your career field, you will find it is very small!
~~ DH was offered a job 16 months before retirement, because a previous commander then working for L3Comm called him up and said you have a job as soon as you leave.
~~ DS is a pilot. The minute he winged, our closest friend (SWA pilot) said to him, you have a job in 10 yrs (pilot commitment)
~~ I work retail (men's clothing). I notice what is called a ring knocker (VT, TAMU, VMI, etc) all wear their rings, regardless of their age. I immediately say where is your ring knocker from?
3. Grad school
~ You can get 75% of it paid for if you sign on for a couple more years.
~ Stay long enough like kinnem stated and you have a GI Bill
~~ Our cousin is now an attorney for the IRS. Want to guess how he paid for law school? GI Bill! Want to take a guess how he got an edge for his job...military also gives you points for the hiring purpose in some areas when it comes to federal job besides the networking aspect
4. Training around the world
~ How many 26/27 year olds can say during an interview with a multi-national, global company that they understand the unique differences between life in Germany, Korea, Saudi Arabia compared to the US?
~~ As a military member there is a chance you will be stationed there for as little as a few weeks to a few years....see above regarding point #1 why they like military.

My final point.
Ask her to think back only a decade ago. Our economy went into the tank very quickly, nobody in 2006 saw it coming, but those 2010 grads were up the creek with no job opportunities. Unemployment skyrocketed to the point unemployment insurance/paychecks were increased to 1 or 2 yrs (don't remember, because....oh yeah we were military with a guaranteed paycheck). Nobody saw that one coming! Military is a guaranteed 4 yr job in a managerial position as an officer.

No offense to your Mom, but I did chuckle at
Another argument she makes to persuade me not to join is that the military is highly bureaucratic.

I work for a national company, and OMG in some ways they are worse than the military! They are just as bloated, they have just as many regulations on what we can wear or what we can do. They offer a MUCH WORSE health insurance plan. A MUCH WORSE leave (vacation) plan. Their 401K is equivalent to the military, and if you do 20, it is worse. The only difference is they do not force us to move every couple of years.

She also thinks that serving is a joke
Next time she says that to you, just tell her from me...the reason she can say serving is a joke is because someone like my DS is right now defending this country so she can say that! That is the beauty of our country, we have the right to say that, and unfortunately, impho sometimes people forget that there is a wife and a child, or a parent separated from their loved one so she can have the right to look down on them!

I am a proud retired AF wife, and a proud AF mother. My DS's siblings do not serve, but as AF brats that attended no less than 9 schools during their school years (K-12) they now embrace the life they lead. How many of your friends can say they were born overseas? Camped in Denali National Park or Portage Glacier? Saw the Northern Lights? Was at the starting line for the Iditarod every year for several years? Saw the Cherry Blossoms every year? Went to the beaches in NJ, VA, NC or FL just because they were an hour or so away?
That is what they get to now say at a ripe old age of 23,25 and 27.
~ My 27 is the ADAF pilot. He also now can say he has been to Canada, Germany, Africa, Ireland and many other places as an ADAF officer.
~~ Oh and if you want to hit her from a financial aspect. He bought his 1st home at 24 with no help from us, but he did use his VA loan, and he did not have to put down 10-20%, heck not even 5%, basically he paid 1%. He is now making money on owning, and getting a nice tax cut because he owns a home.
~~~ He also gets great car/home insurance rates (USAA), free AMEX platinum card, 10% off at places like Lowes, American Eagle, DSW...all because he is military!
~~~~ He also has his paycheck different than corporate world. He has base pay, and that is taxable, but his housing pay is an allowance, and that is NOT taxable. IE. You make 30K in base pay, but you live in NJ and for an O1 they deem housing would cost 24K a yr. Your tax for the IRS is not 54K, but 30K.
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My mom was against me joining too and I never joined. Unfortunately my mom was ill and needed me, I stuck around and helped my sisters care for her. I would liked to have served but life's circumstances did not permit it. Would I change the way things went? No I was able to be around and make my mothers life better. Do I ever think about how thing would be today and how I would be different if I had served. Yes. Did I try to get in again Yes. After my mother passed I was told I was too old and too fat.
ericim2202 in life we get choices and we have to live with those choices. Your mom cares for your well being and rightfully so. Serving in our country's Military comes with risk of the ultimate price of loss of life , limb or mental health. It also comes with great benefits as some of those listed above. I would think that your happiness is of significant importance to both you and your mom and should be part of the discussion.
I wish you all the best. Godspeed.
If you are looking at ROTC, you can also tell her there is no obligation for any service until the first day of your sophomore year. The US has had an all volunteer force now for two generations; the military no longer has the desire or systems in place to keep people in service that don't want to be there. Even if you don't earn a 4-year scholarship, you can take the class and participate in the ROTC of your choice and make a far more informed decision (while applying for a 3-year) after your freshman year.

And as far as bureaucracy: personally, I loved the fact that in the military my commanding officer was clearly designated, as was his or her chain of command. I loved feeling part of a huge team where success was dependent on everyone, and you were rarely competing head-to-head with the co-workers on your immediate team for promotions or recognition. The smaller civilian companies where I have worked are far more dependent on feelings (because I like her) rather than merit (she hit maximum productivity targets 5 of the last six months) in determining promotions and recognition. YMMV.
It sounds like your mom has her mind made up, which is not good for you. Military service is an honor. Ultimately, it is your decision because you are the one getting the degree and pursuing the chosen career path.
FYI: I am an active-duty military officer (Army) with a PhD. I conduct research as a scientist as my career field.
The military has varied career paths and does not hold up to the broad generalizations that your mother depicted.
It is an excellent avenue for an advanced education. The military paid for my bachelor's, masters and Phd.
Sometimes, the unknown frightens people.
Maybe she doesn't want her child moving so far away from the nest?
As a sophomore in ROTC, I can tell you how successful I am. Great GPA, great APFT score, always involved in extracurricular. Right now it is paying for my undergraduate and allows me too compete for a specialty school in the summer. Joining ROTC will make you far more high speed then your non-ROTC peers. I would tell her, "Mom I am not living my life around what you think. It is my life, not yours". Don't make a decision you will regret 10 years down the road...
I want to add to what beatnavy54 said, in addition to what I said earlier.

In high school DS wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, grade wise. He just never seemed to really apply himself. He was smart enough, and I knew he could do much better, but he was still a solid B student. He hit his stride in college and was on the Dean's List 6 of 8 semesters. The semesters he wasn't on the Dean's list, he just missed it by a skosh. I was amazed at how much better he was doing academically in college than he had in high school. There is no doubt in my mind that this was all due to his participation in NROTC.
Perhaps another perspective that will add to / enhance the fine and wise comments that have already been made:

I am not a military man. My older son is keen on the Air Force for a variety of reasons, perhaps mainly because he loves flight, airplanes, being airborne, and I-don't-know-what. Regardless, I am 100% in favor of his pursuing, as he sees fit, a military path leading to a commission, for the following reasons that may not be apparent to your mother -- or, for that matter, to most of the people on this thread.

1. The US military is one of the few institutions left in our society that takes seriously the notion of honor. Every other path you might choose to follow has, in one way or another, suffered a serious loss of internal morale, external prestige, in short - RESPECT.

There is only one part of our society that can still claim, with any credibility, to uphold the idea of putting something above self. That is our military.

This is the reason that the Gallup surveys have found, consistently, for over 30 years, that ONLY the US military commands the respect of a huge majority of those Americans surveyed. Every other institution - government, big business, the media, our twin decrepit political parties, the universities, the church, unions - is disrespected and not trusted by most Americans. Only the military preserves the respect and trust of most Americans, regardless of their political persuasion.

2. The reason for the above - in my personal opinion - is that there is very little left in the way of any ethos of mutual provision, or commitment, or trust, or LOYALTY, in those other sectors of American society beyond the US military.

The private for-profit sector is IMO the worst part of US society today. We have created a Darwinian society that eats its own.

Speaking as one who has been on both sides of the table, as an individual contributor and also a manager and an executive, I can say for certain that US corporations don't give a d--- about their employees. They will not train you, they will not fund a pension for you, and they will force you to train your low-cost offshore replacement as soon as they can. They will lay you off ie kick you out on the street at the first opportunity.

There is nothing more demoralizing to an upstanding, straight-shooting, high-aiming young citizen such as yourself than to be a cog in the American corporate machine.

3. The US needs you. We need your passion, your commitment, your honor. We are at a difficult point in our (relatively brief) history as an independent, self-standing republic. China wants to take our place. Putin, like the Iranians, hates and resents us and wishes to screw us up wherever he can.

We need our best young people to safeguard our republic, to resist all the negativity and self-hatred in our society and to say Yes, We Can and We Will.

Say Yes.

Say No to your mother's pessimism. She loves you but she must not overrule you any longer.

Be a man. Be an American. Follow what you know is true.
My father didn't like the idea at first either. Thing is, they'll love you no matter what and support you though it. The way I approached it was I told him that I'd listen to his concerns but at this point I have made up my mind and this is what I am doing. Rather, informing him of my decision and not asking for permission.