I speak from experience, so listen up. Many of you on this board will soon (if you have not already) had your son/daughter receive the much-awaited acceptance letter to USNA or NAPS. You are, of course, immensley proud of your kid, and you have every right to be. I offer you my congratulations on raising a kid of the level of quality that allows them to be admitted. Now, here's the advice: BACK OFF! Your kid needs you to be there for them, to hear them *****, to hear them gripe, to vent, and then, maybe, to offer them advice. DO NOT try to "put yourself in our shoes" or any such nonsense. Unless you have been to the Academy yourself, you have no earthly clue what it's like, and more often than not your exuberance and desire to help your kid simply ticks them off. This happens for a simple reason: It's annoying. The kids are in an environment, probably for the first time in their lives, where what Mommy and Daddy think bears about as much relevence to the situation at hand as the temperature on the surface of Alpha Centauri. They are bing judged on what THEY do, not what YOU think. They are also being taught, in a very direct manner, to fend for themselves and to rely on their classmates. As those of you who have been through "elite" programs (or worse - combat) know, a bond develops among those who go through it together that is oftentimes stronger than anything at home. They will also cling to girlfriends/boyfriends more than they will to you. It's natural. Additionally, your attempts to "understand", or to be gung-ho Navy Parents, will very likely light your kid off like an ICBM. You CANNOT understand because you haven't DONE it, and as for your exuberance, ask any Mid what they think of that flashy little catalog the Candidate Guidance Office sent them, and see if ANY of it bears any resemblance to reality. Go on; I dare you. They will call home crying. They will beg to come home. They will ask you if they should quit. DO NOT tell them either "Yes" or "No". You need to help them make their OWN decision. You need to be there to hear them vent. You need to be there to remind them, as only someone with twice their years or more knows, that pain is temporary, but pride is forever. They need to understand that if they decide the place is not for them, that you won't think less of them. You also need to remind them that whatever decision they make, they will have to look the person who made it in the eye every morning for the rest of their lives when they look in the mirror. There will be mood swings the like you have never seen. They will laugh maniacally then roar with rage. If you try to push too hard, they will push back, HARD. You can no longer LEAD them, you have to be there to offer GUIDANCE and SUPPORT, and only when they ASK for it. Tell them now you are proud of them (as if your eyes will not when they take the oath and come to you one last time before they disappear in to the Hall to begin Plebe Summer), and tell them that no matter what happens, you are there. Tell them they can do it, but that THEY have to believe it. Be proud, but do not treat your kid as a trophy. Do not introduce him as "This is my son, John. He goes to the Naval Academy!". It is not received well. (Besides, we like to drop that bomb ourselves! ) They are adults, and candidates in the most elite Officer-Accension program in the United States Navy. TREAT THEM LIKE IT! As for you Pleber-soon-to-be's, take it easy on your folks. They have no way of knowing the **** being flung at you. All they see are the ads, the catalogs, the movies, and their little kid being a part of it. Pride is not the word, and I know this only from seeing my own parents and those of my classmates. Someday, perhaps, I'll feel it first hand. Stay the course. Never quit. Never surrender. Remember that you are training to become warriors for a nation at war. This is the big leagues, people. Play for KEEPS. I only wish someone had told me this when I was in HS. Would have saved me no end of grief!