texas_navy2010.....this is a very interesting question you are posing - and even though I'm a parent - let me say that what has surprised me most over the years we have been a part of USNA life is the varying ways families deal with this exact question. There really are families that under no circumstance will they support a child in ANY military career-related decision. There are families that are shocked and hurt by their child's desire- but allow the young person to pursue their own course and as they watch their child grow and mature they come around and support their offspring. There are neutral families that simply don't care...and then it runs the gamut to the hoo-rah parent fanatics who live,breathe, eat, sleep USNA.
So there is no 'one way' to approach this question. IF you have a history of being able to sit down with your parents and discuss things, then I would suggest you plan a time with your parents when you tell them you have something you want to share with them - and once you have their attention....minus the TV, or phone, or siblings around....and share your dreams. Look them in the eye - state your desires as concisely and clearly and unemotionally as you can. Ask them their opinions. Give them some time to digest this. The manner in which you approach your parents - respectfully and tactfully - may be the best thing you have going for you in helping them respond to you openly.
I recall that it was my 12 year old girl, on 9-11-01 who simply announced to me with the greatest of seriousness and solemnity, that she was going to serve her country as a military officer. That epiphany in her heart never waivered. We had 5 long years between Sept. 11,2001 and her I-Day in June '06 - lots of time for her to change her mind or for us as her parents to dissuade her. But the drive inside of her was so clearly self-driven, so cleary HER, that as parents all we could do was stand aside and provide the mental, moral, intellectual, spiritual and parental support we could to allow her to pursue her dream. Even though we are a family with a military background, and even though my husband her father is a USNA grad...I can honestly tell you the LAST thing, the absolute LAST thing that we ever imagined as parents was that our children, especially the last of our 5 children, a girl - would choose USNA. It simply wasn't in our mental framework. And this is from an USNA alum! So even we as parents had some mental adjustments to this announcement from our 'baby girl' when she shared her desire to go military.
I clearly recall a conversation with our family doctor...when our daughter was a high school junior and having a physical in preparation for her application to USNA and he took me aside. This is a dear personal friend we've known for years....have his home number...as families we socialize at each other's homes...that's how close we are - anyway he takes me aside privately and asks, "How can you LET your daughter do this?! I'd be scared sh*tl*ss if my daughter told me she wanted to do what your daughter wants to do." It was an interesting insight into the heart of a father - I replied that since this was 100% HER choice, I simply didn't feel it was my job to prevent her from shooting for this goal - there were still many steps ahead in the process and if she wasn't meant to go USNA, the circumstances would fall in line one way or another.
So this is a long answer, but I share it because I think it might help you see that as parents this IS and CAN BE a difficult thing to hear from your child - and there are no easy ways to approach this if you suspect your parents might have a hard time.
On the other hand - I would encourage you to approach this positively and with some confidence. If you are a young person interested in a Service Academy, you represent the best of our American youth - congratulations young man! So take your great attitude, your heart's dreams, and lovingly expect your mom and dad to end up standing alongside you in this process.
And if they need to connect with a family to answer some of their concerns/questions....give them my email....email@example.com and I'd be more than happy to discuss this with them.
God bless you young man! Keep us informed of what's up with you.