Question #4............ Long

Just Dad

Member
Looong Question #4

For most of us Plebe Parents Christmas was the first opportunity to see our kids at home since their "deep end" jump into adulthood back in June. I'M curious to hear from other parents (not just Cl2020) what they observed as the significant changes in their kids "the good"; "the bad"; "the sad". from that first trip home.

Here are mine:

a) Sad: I was amazed to find that DD's newly acquired cleaning and neatness skills have been compartmentalized and apply exclusively to her USNA environment.----4 days at home and her bedroom looked just as bad as it did before she left.


b) Good: She still takes Mom, Dad and Sister for granted, but there were moments when she recognized (with bliss) how great home has been for her and that some effort was expended delivering her a good start and a good time over those first 18 years.


c) Great: She has a new "smooth confidence". Pre June, she always needed to "win"; she tied her sense of self to her victories. Obviously she has "lost" (at least temporarily) a few times at USNA while doing a damn good job. She seems to believe more in herself ---independent of out comes (wins and losses). This is my favorite change, its a more tolerant, less "in your face", less fragile, more easy going confidence--------------a more "graceful confidence" (yeh, that's it).


d) ????: Grades seem less important to her. She says “there are two kinds of students at USNA: the ones who are wound so tight that they’d ring like a bell if you bounced a quarter off of them, and the ones who do their best, ---- but don't plan or want to be the perfect Plebe”. She aspires to the latter. Not sure how I feel about this. Right now I think she is spending more time at practice and working leadership stuff than she is studying for class. She says the schoolwork isn't that hard, but I don't think she is top of the class. I worry that she may not be doing her best at school in favor of doing her best as a team mate/class mate.


e) ???? When she left in June she was more impressed with following rules. I know this one is a little odd, but over the last 6 months she's become MORE inclined to break/fudge "a minor rule". Not sure how I feel about this one. I’m thinking that a “BS-0-Meter” might be a good thing for a naval officer to develop----as long as it doesn’t go to far.


f) Good: She's gained an understanding that not everybody grows up in an affluent suburb (OK)--and she would never do anything that a fellow Plebe can't afford to do (great).


g) HMM: She seemed to know what JagerMeistar (sp?) tastes like. That’s new,…. and I think I spotted a wincing twitch at the corner of her mouth when she spoke of it.


h) Good: She's always been able to laugh at herself, but now she will invite others to laugh at her if it will lighten things up. "Dad they all think I'm a ditz, but it could get pretty glum here without us ditz-s".

Summing up: I sent the USNA Hermione Granger............................................................
The USNA sent back (Hermione
Granger+ Rambo+ The Dude)


That’s it for me; curious to hear what other parents have observed by way of changes. It is really strange to see your kid move into semi- adulthood, (see Jaeger reference) so quickly.


PS: Very Sad---when I left her at I-Day I worried for her (a little). Parent Weekend was harder, because it felt like “We” (house Mom, Dad, Sister, Dogs) weren’t her “Home” anymore, the Yard and her class mates were “Home”. When I took her to the airport this time I realized these small bits of time together and partings are our new normal, (worst so far)


My dog proofread this post
 
Last edited:
I was curious how my plebe would be over Christmas break. What I found is:

-A more thoughtful kid. He appreciates time with his family and wanted to just hang out much of the time. Other than his best friend from high school, he didn't really hang out with old friends a lot. I just don't think he felt they had a lot in common anymore.

-he spoke of being disappointed that others weren't at USNA for the "right reasons" and that they only followed the rules when others could see them (i.e. He said he chops even if he is the only person in the hall). We had a lot of discussions about everyone coming from different mindsets and relaxing about what others do but he is still apparently my rule follower.

-he left his room really neat at the end of break, which was definitely not the norm for him in the past.

-he has been really open to trying new activities, clubs, and other things that I would never have imagined. The academics have come easily for him, and he seems to have really liked his instructors.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
Just Dad -- interesting observations. They show me that things that have not changed that much in 30+ years. Further, some of your observations are not all that different from my own observations with 2 daughters going to non-Academy colleges. A couple thoughts for you:

d) Grades -- grades aren't everything. I am sure DD was used to getting straight A's in HS, but very few get a 4.0 at USNA. Some may be naturally gifted, but others are "wound so tight" that they miss some of the other opportunities they get out of USNA. I know, I was like that, and 30 years later I realize that I would have been better served spending more time with my Classmates. In the long run, being a good team mate/classmate is probably more important than a letter on a transcript. (You and DD daughter shouldn't worry about possible impact on post-graduate schools; first, I would expect that most recognize that grades from a Service Academy are a whole lot different than State U or Private college; thats why standardized tests are so important. Second, the fact that she will be a USNA graduate will open alot of doors in the future, regardless of whether she has a 2.1 or 4.0.

e) Rules -- again, some people are model Mids , follow every rule, and sweat everything; others live with the motto you rate what you get away with. Pros and cons to both, and frankly, the latter have more fun. Again, looking back 30 years, I wish I had done more of the latter. It is interesting to see that many of my classmates that had the more non-chalant attitudes had very successful careers, and the same is true historically -- many of the Navy's greatest leaders had colorful careers at USNA. Finally, don't sweat the introduction to Jaegermeister... thats part of growing up. Maybe more of an issue at USNA than civilian college because the severity of consequences if you get caught being stupid, but my view has always been that it is better to learn how to drink responsibly in college, before you get out to the real world and mistakes have longer term consequences. I am not sure that this philosophy is applicable at USNA now, as the Admininstration has all but vilified alcohol use, so DD better be careful.

Finally, for Serendipity, I fully understand the "right reasons" issue, but DS should recognize that everyone's motivation and personal sense of duty differs. No one is better or more deserving of being at USNA than anyone else. Again, I was more like your son, very dedicated and gungy, and others really didn't seem to care about the military at all. I left the Navy after 7 years, and was surprised to see at my Reunions the number of those that didn't seem to care who had really successful careers. Keep in mind these are still 18-22 year old "kids" , and they mature at different rates. In retrospect, the ability to let things roll , or as JustDad refers to it, the BS meter, is a useful tool....at USNA, in the Fleet, and in life. (I recognize it now, but still haven't mastered it !)
 

golfindad

Member
wow. DS is at usmma, but some of the same thoughts seem to apply. We have run up a number of times for his sport matches, and had him at the tri-break as well as Christmas. So, we have been able to see more of a progress.

"a) Sad: I was amazed to find that DD's newly acquired cleaning and neatness skills have been compartmentalized and apply exclusively to her USNA environment.----4 days at home and her bedroom looked just as bad as it did before she left."

DITTO here. When we were able to visit at the Academy and he was able to have overnight liberty, cover goes on the top shelf og the closet, shoes up there and protected, uniform hung, etc. At home, drops all in the family room. His room at the Academy, ship shape--room at home, bed remains unmade. :)


"b) Good: She still takes Mom, Dad and Sister for granted, but there were moments when she recognized (with bliss) how great home has been for her and that some effort was expended delivering her a good start and a good time over those first 18 years."

Spot on here as well


"c) Great: She has a new "smooth confidence"."

Pretty much the same. We saw him very wound up after indoc-parents weekend, but, he has since become a little unwound, but, is very confident in what he does, and has matured greatly.


Rules--He is worried about the rules still, and does not want to take a chance, unless he knows it is something that will not likely cause grief. So, fudge on some minor things, yes. still worried about the major ones, or the unknowns, yes. Didn't really translate to the rules we have set for him though. He still respects them--as much as he always has ;)

All in all, he is much more of a man, much more impressive, much more sure of himself, much more independent. And, others can see it as well.
 

jebdad

5-Year Member
PS: Very Sad---when I left her at I-Day I worried for her (a little). Parent Weekend was harder, because it felt like “We” (house Mom, Dad, Sister, Dogs) weren’t her “Home” anymore, the Yard and her class mates were “Home”. When I took her to the airport this time I realized these small bits of time together and partings are our new normal, (worst so far)
This really hits home with me. Not sure if DD is your oldest but for our 2019 it was our oldest and first to go away. Coming to grips with her not being part of our every day lives was very hard. Realizing that stage of our lives as a complete family unit was "over" was tough for me to swallow. It gets better. I don't have the daily aching heart as time has helped to heal and allow us to adjust. But, the goodbyes, now, are as difficult as ever for mom and dad. I think that is because you get to spend such little time with them.
 
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sandnnw

5-Year Member
Thank you for posting, had a few laughs, as I have a 1/C, DS at Navy and most of this is so true as well. I really believe a lot of this is individual, but is amazing to see how they change, even from under/upperclassmen. The summer tours also seem to generate a confidence boost, especially the 3rd summer. I saw no mention of roommate drama, but won' t digress. I'm curious to see how the "real" Navy will change him even more.

I'd like to mention the parent opportunities. No where is that more evident than at a SA. You can be totally involved or not at all. It is amazing how Navy cultivates this, not so much the academy, but other parents and alumni. I believe Mom and I have changed some as well! I've never paid so much freaking cash to enjoy college sports or went to local parties/balls and such. We've met a lot of interesting folks as well. Enjoy your Navy time, it FLIES. Oh and GO NAVY!
 

Just Dad

Member
Actually Jeb, Its worse than you'd think. I have two kids. The one at the USNA is my own DNA, and (generally speaking) a pain in the ***. She is the product of my wifes 16th IVF. 4 years of trying, lost pregnancies along the way---she just didn't have the reserves to try for a 2nd. I'd always figured on adopting a kid, so daughter #2 is from China, (much nicer than DD#1). BOTH left for college this year. WAaaaaaaaay less energy in a waaaay too big house now.
 

Sydney C.

5-Year Member
Parent Weekend was harder, because it felt like “We” (house Mom, Dad, Sister, Dogs) weren’t her “Home” anymore, the Yard and her class mates were “Home”. When I took her to the airport this time I realized these small bits of time together and partings are our new normal, (worst so far)
I get that! Kiddo comes home for the first time at Christmas, Plebe year...Mom says, "thinking about redoing your room...whattaya think?"...DS says "Mom, you do whatever you want...I don't live here anymore". Ouch.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
Actually Jeb, Its worse than you'd think. I have two kids. The one at the USNA is my own DNA, and (generally speaking) a pain in the ***. She is the product of my wifes 16th IVF. 4 years of trying, lost pregnancies along the way---she just didn't have the reserves to try for a 2nd. I'd always figured on adopting a kid, so daughter #2 is from China, (much nicer than DD#1). BOTH left for college this year. WAaaaaaaaay less energy in a waaaay too big house now.
JustDad - not a DNA thing. Probably comes from First Child/Second Child , or Second Child learned not to follow First Child's example of trying to butt heads with Dad. Don't worry ..it gets better. They slowly realize that you aren't as lame as they thought you were. It's actually kinda rewarding to see them come around and start mimicking some of the things you did !
 

Brawny77

Member
Mine is just a plebe but I have noticed a few changes;
1. He greets people, especially adults way better. He looks them in the eye gives a firm handshake and makes way better conversation.
2. He likes coffee....a lot!
3. He is way more organized. He keeps a calendar. He puts things in it! Who is this kid and what have you done with my loosey goosey son?
4. He made the first B's of his life at USNA (Chem and Cal 2) and he was happeier with those than any A's he made in high school. Happier than when he made a 5 on the cal 1 A.P. exam.
5. He uses a bit more "colorful" language. I wouldn't say he cusses like a sailor yet but he is exploring vocabulary options.
6. Seems to appreciate little things more. Examples: he made a big deal out of how comfortable a chair was and really savored eating at a favorite local Tex Mex place.
7. Hard to explain but he carries himself better. Kinda walks taller.
8. Trashed his older brother in a 3 mile run. So much so that older brother has really stepped up his running and wants a rematch at spring break.
 
Looong Question #4

For most of us Plebe Parents Christmas was the first opportunity to see our kids at home since their "deep end" jump into adulthood back in June. I'M curious to hear from other parents (not just Cl2020) what they observed as the significant changes in their kids "the good"; "the bad"; "the sad". from that first trip home.

Here are mine:

a) Sad: I was amazed to find that DD's newly acquired cleaning and neatness skills have been compartmentalized and apply exclusively to her USNA environment.----4 days at home and her bedroom looked just as bad as it did before she left.


b) Good: She still takes Mom, Dad and Sister for granted, but there were moments when she recognized (with bliss) how great home has been for her and that some effort was expended delivering her a good start and a good time over those first 18 years.


c) Great: She has a new "smooth confidence". Pre June, she always needed to "win"; she tied her sense of self to her victories. Obviously she has "lost" (at least temporarily) a few times at USNA while doing a damn good job. She seems to believe more in herself ---independent of out comes (wins and losses). This is my favorite change, its a more tolerant, less "in your face", less fragile, more easy going confidence--------------a more "graceful confidence" (yeh, that's it).


d) ????: Grades seem less important to her. She says “there are two kinds of students at USNA: the ones who are wound so tight that they’d ring like a bell if you bounced a quarter off of them, and the ones who do their best, ---- but don't plan or want to be the perfect Plebe”. She aspires to the latter. Not sure how I feel about this. Right now I think she is spending more time at practice and working leadership stuff than she is studying for class. She says the schoolwork isn't that hard, but I don't think she is top of the class. I worry that she may not be doing her best at school in favor of doing her best as a team mate/class mate.


e) ???? When she left in June she was more impressed with following rules. I know this one is a little odd, but over the last 6 months she's become MORE inclined to break/fudge "a minor rule". Not sure how I feel about this one. I’m thinking that a “BS-0-Meter” might be a good thing for a naval officer to develop----as long as it doesn’t go to far.


f) Good: She's gained an understanding that not everybody grows up in an affluent suburb (OK)--and she would never do anything that a fellow Plebe can't afford to do (great).


g) HMM: She seemed to know what JagerMeistar (sp?) tastes like. That’s new,…. and I think I spotted a wincing twitch at the corner of her mouth when she spoke of it.


h) Good: She's always been able to laugh at herself, but now she will invite others to laugh at her if it will lighten things up. "Dad they all think I'm a ditz, but it could get pretty glum here without us ditz-s".

Summing up: I sent the USNA Hermione Granger............................................................
The USNA sent back (Hermione
Granger+ Rambo+ The Dude)


That’s it for me; curious to hear what other parents have observed by way of changes. It is really strange to see your kid move into semi- adulthood, (see Jaeger reference) so quickly.


PS: Very Sad---when I left her at I-Day I worried for her (a little). Parent Weekend was harder, because it felt like “We” (house Mom, Dad, Sister, Dogs) weren’t her “Home” anymore, the Yard and her class mates were “Home”. When I took her to the airport this time I realized these small bits of time together and partings are our new normal, (worst so far)


My dog proofread this post
1. Cusses like a sailor.
2. Room still a disaster.
3. More thankful for family.
4. Tell your mids to be careful with alcohol use. My mid was turned in for drinking beer in a hotel room with others. (Not drunk, no police/hotel management/etc involved. Was turned in by another mid). Now serving restriction and several other punishments. NOT worth it.
 

Just Dad

Member
Morning BGO,
Being a Pain in the *** is "not a DNA thing"----------------- you obviously haven't met DD's mother!

Fact is, Daughter #2 (as described here) is almost a year older than my Plebe. I delivered #2 into the arms of my very pregnant wife 5 weeks before the birth of our Plebe. They are kinda twins without the economies of scale. We could, discuss the "Ying and Yang" of different parenting approach’s, but that could take awhile. I will say that watching two very different "bags of Genes" grow up side by side has convinced me that the "nature nurture ratio is around 70% 30%.

Fact is Mom is "Type A", I guess I am too, DD is Type A+(alpha), I imagine there are a fair number of these on the Yard. Daughter #2 was the leader for the first 7years. After that the Plebe started acting as the "playground enforcer/protector" which morphed into running the operation, (I think she was modeling Carlo Gambino).

Your reply does bring up an interesting "observed change" in the Plebe that I failed to mention earlier. I am guessing that one of the Navy's first messages to Plebes is "childhood is over, you are an adult now, you can vote, you are making your own money, and we (Navy) will hold you to adult standards". What my DD heard in this messaging is "you are calling the shots now". On my end, this manifests itself when I ask about Grades or offer of wisdom/consultation in the selection of a major---- and the reply is--------"do you have a need to know" and "thanks Dad, but no thanks" (respectively). On the grades thing, my worry isn't that she isn't pulling a 4.0 at USNA. My worry, (its not keeping me up at night), is that she cruised to her HS-accelerated program GPA, and ACT scores that got her into USNA. She seems to feel that nothing has changed. I think she is "up from the minors" and worry she won't figure that out soon enough,------ and its "off to Bahrain". Nothing against Bahrain,(weell not too much---been there), I just noted that lots of Bahrain slots were left very late in SWO ship selection.

BTW: thanks for the thoughtful response earlier, I honestly appreciated the perspective.

BTW2: last night I sat with a cigar and a beer watching a U-tube of SWO ship-selection 2017 while my wife gambled on the casino floor, (an extention of her profession I am told). Wow! did the Girls Kick ###: 25% of the class making 80% of the early selections..... it was striking.

My dog proofread this post, and I should never be taken literally...................(is that ok honey?)
 
What I noticed about my DS at Christmas:

1.) His room once again looked like a tornado had gone through it

2) He walked through the door and the dog spent 5 minutes barking at him before she finally recognized him.

3) He was a lot more understanding of adults- " I think I get why you were telling me some things, Mom".
 
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