I am really struggling with how to be supportive of our DS as he figures out which path to choose: USNA or public university w/ or w/o NROTC. Some days I think attending USNA is the most amazing opportunity for him; other days I think this is the worst idea ever. Sometimes I feel like this is a calling, like the priesthood or medicine, and that type of desire to be of service can be hard to understand unless you feel it yourself. Other times I think this is a training program and a job and stop being so dramatic already. I suspect part of my problem is we are not a military family and this is foreign territory. I have tried to do my research (this forum has helped a lot--thanks!) but I still feel like in some ways I just don't fully "get it." Another aspect of my struggle is that, although DS has always had a keen interest in military history, the option of a SA was not something he mentioned until about 8 months ago. He has worked his tail off in that time span to make this happen; I am so proud of his hard work and persistence, but it's not given us much time to adjust. I feel like my due diligence as a parent forces me to ask him if he has thought of X and considered Y, where X and Y are often (not always) the less attractive parts of military training and service. I wonder if I would feel compelled to be doing this if he wanted to go to the University of Whatever--I just don't think so! This feels different. Bottom line: it is his path to chose and I know he will bring great things to whatever he does in life. How have parents handled this mess of feelings--how have you managed to be supportive but also be that voice of reality? And for young men and women who have been on the receiving end of this mess of feelings--no matter what your final decision was--how could your parents have best supported you?