Siblings following appointees footsteps

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by FlyBoy1993, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. FlyBoy1993

    FlyBoy1993 5-Year Member

    Jan 9, 2011
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    Our oldest son is in Beast right now at West Point. As you could imagine, he achieved almost every superlative at his JROTC unit in high school,

    This past spring, we told the instructors, whom we absolutely respect and admire; that another "flyboy" would be joining their group. Oh the looks on their faces just lit up. The wife and I immediately started to attempt to temper their expectations. We emphasized is different and asked that he start with an open slate in their minds from Day 1, just like the older one did.

    Today, our younger son started their "Two-Week Training" at the same JROTC unit. As i took him this morning, I revisited how the Juniors and Seniors in the cadre were the cadets his older brother taught and lead. I reminded him to be his own man and that it was his show.

    Everything went well, but I did laugh when he described the opening formation, the group commander approached him...

    What's your last name?
    you mean The Flyboy?( about 9-10 heads openly turn around in formation)
    Yes, sir.
    are you as good as he was?
    Don't know, but I am going to earn what do on my own name, not his.

    I wrote all of that to ask this: What challenges have you had with younger siblings following their older SA Appointee at High School? I think ours is going to be just fine, but it is a challenging balance. He deeply respects and looks up to his older brother, and rightly so; but how do you temper that with " Forget about your bro- do your own thing?" Have you found it challenging to deal with the adults'( coaches/ teachers/ect) expectations on the younger child?
  2. MedB

    MedB Parent

    Dec 26, 2012
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    In our case it's the DD following behind the DS who's a new C4C at Air Force. And yes, he excelled at his JROTC unit up to and including being Unit Commander.

    I think your advice is spot on. We remind both of our children that "We all have things we are great at, and things we can be better at".

    We apply that same, simple, advice to EVERYONE they meet or know. For example, it's become a mantra of sorts when they meet folks they don't hit it off with or respect and encourages them to find the positive aspects that person brings. And it allows them to be realistic about people they might idolize.

    And when DD and DS are in a situation where they are compared to each other, they can both confidently say "yeah he/she was great at that, but I'm great at this".

    Not sure if this is exactly what you were looking for, but hope it helps.
  3. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

    Jul 20, 2006
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    My 16-year-old has the distinction of being a virtual clone of his older brother. He looks and acts so much like him that his mother and I have had to label many photos over the years because we cannot tell them apart at certain ages. He is 8 years younger than the older son. It is sometimes very hard on him to have an older brother who is a fighter pilot.

    Ever since he started high school (and I guess before) he has been constantly compared to his older brother and has been expected by many teachers to be exactly like him in the classroom. (He isn't.) He has also been expected to be just like his brother in athletics, student government, etc. I know that this has been an issue with him and he and I talk about it when it becomes a problem. Youngest quit football after his freshman year because the coach constantly told him how his older brother did things on the field. He went out for cross-country instead, kicked butt, lettered as a sophomore, and was selected as a captain this year as a junior.

    I have never interfered and left it up to him to let people know that he is not the exact same as his brother. I talk to him and let him know that he shares a great many talents that his brother does, but he has many talents of his own that his older brother doesn't have. He is more mechanically inclined than the older one and also has an uncanny ability to write without even trying. He is the kind of kid who doesn't ever need a rough draft of a paper. He can just write it and it is about as good as it will get.

    I guess my advice is to keep doing the balancing act with the younger one. I am not sure I am being completely successful in this situation and I don't know that I'll ever be sure. The youngest one is interested in USNA and USAFA. Some days he is more interested than other days. We are letting him pick his own path and trying to keep from swaying him toward anything. The key is to let him know that there is nothing "better" or "worse" in his choices when comparing them to his older siblings.


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