Whip-sawed Parent

MedB

5-Year Member
Those enlisted types that he does not seem to want ‘to deal with’ per your message above.
For whatever it's worth, I didn't read DrJ's message that way; you inferred "enlisted".
I think the reference was more to the young daredevil testosterone types in general that seek the military to settle them down (re: Spud's post). I did not take the response as a rank/snob thing at all as that description cuts across officer and enlisted ranks alike.

(FYI - Proud brat of career enlisted here)
 
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DrJ

Member
DrJ, please tell me that your son does fully realize that his entire academy experience is designed to assist him in eventually leading and training ‘this type of person’ referred to above. Those enlisted types that he does not seem to want ‘to deal with’ per your message above.

Tread very carefully. Many on this board are/were enlisted, or have children who are.

An extremely interesting discussion nonetheless.
I think you may have taken offense where none was intended--for my part in being unclear, I apologize.

If you thought that the phrase "this type of person" was some code word for enlisted personnel, I can see how you and others would be deeply offended.

But it isn't--that simply wasn't what I had in mind at all.

By "this type of person," I was referring to those college students who are not serious about their studies, hijack others' learning, abuse alcohol/drugs to the point that the local detox center knows them on a first name basis, make it impossible for others to sleep in the dorm, make the shared bathrooms unusable on a regular basis, etc, etc. They are in the minority at most colleges, but even a few really negatively impact other students in a big way. And I think being around serious students who see the value of teamwork and adherence to rules in an environment with zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol is part--only part!--of the appeal of a SA education for DS.

Hope I was more clear this time!
 

DrJ

Member
For whatever it's worth, I didn't read DrJ's message that way; you inferred "enlisted".
I think the reference was more to the young daredevil testosterone types in general that seek the military to settle them down (re: Spud's post). I did not take the response as a rank/snob thing at all as that description cuts across officer and enlisted ranks alike.

(FYI - Proud brat of career enlisted here)
Thanks--read this after my post and it's exactly what I meant!
 

DrJ

Member
DrJ--I suggest you spend 66 minutes watching the speech Vice Admiral Ted Carter gave at Johns Hopkins in January (It's on you tube). This guy is IMPRESSIVE. He lays out an incredible vision for the future of the USNA. If you don't want your son to be part of this after you watch his speech than it probably isn't the place for him (you). I watched it twice and my only regret is that I am too old to apply! I was so impressed with him. Compared to the leadership on most college campuses today, he was strikingly refreshing.
Thanks for the suggestion!
Must admit I groaned a tiny bit when I saw the length of the video. Great speaker, so the time flew, and he covered a lot of territory in a relatively short amount of time.
Especially impressed with his stance on the total health of our men and women serving in the Navy.
 

DrJ

Member
There is an Irish curse: May you live in interesting times.
Today DS got a decidedly TWE from the USNA.
I went through the TWE experience once before when he got a LOA nearly two months ago. At that point, I didn't even know what a TWE was.
Now I am not so naive.
"This can't be good, this can't be good, this can't be good" was all I could think. I mouthed "this is bad" to my DH. As whip sawed as I have been, I felt so perfectly awful for my DS.
DS calmly opened up the envelope, and inside was a cheerful letter informing him he no longer needed a medical waiver and congratulating him on his appointment. Within the hour, one of the MOC's that had nominated him was on the phone, confirming his appointment and congratulating him.
Looking forward to the arrival of the BFE, when this will seem less like a dream and more of a reality for him.
Booked hotels in Annapolis the end of June and mid-August and took time off of work when he got his LOA--waiting for his final decision to book airline tickets for the rest of us.
I think the interesting times are just beginning!
 

Kirkmanj

Member
Congratulations to your DS! As a parent of a new appointee, I have appreciated this thread and your posts. They express the bittersweet reality of the matter. We have children who can go anywhere, yet they choose a harder, perhaps more dangerous, path that will take them away from us for a long time. It is a great opportunity chosen for noble reasons, but, like all things worth doing, has its costs. I can only applaud them for their higher character and their parents for installing this love for others in them.

That same love makes it hard to see them go.
...but aren't growth, honor, and self-mastery what we pray for? Our kids choose thus because they are the ones who value these virtues. Service over self. It makes me feel good about our future.
 

Falcon A

Just a Proud Dad
5-Year Member
This is a great thread. Does a great job allowing us to express our pride and our apprehensions. I was really affected by DRj's, VelveteenR's and Kirkmanj's posts.

My DS has wanted to go the Air Force Academy since he was 8. Prepared for it -- worked hard -- and was on the "early action" track for USAFA admission and seemed to be slated for an early appointment. Then, because of an allergy to tree nuts (pistachios & cashews) he received the DQ from DoDMERB. Went through the remedial process in August providing all the skin test and blood work records, and then went through additional testing . . . and then in late September we got the "waiver denied" letter from USAFA. It is a difficult thing to see a dream die in the eyes of your child. He so desperately wanted to serve his country as officer in the military. To his credit, he kept pursuing his alternate paths to achieve his dream through West Point, VMI and ROTC, and on 12 March his DoDMERB portal showed "D259.50 Waiver Approved - AROTC"! DS is ecstatic! He now has the opportunity to pursue his dream using the 4-yr Army ROTC scholarship to VMI he has been awarded.

DS knows he is pursuing a very different path from his peers. He has always had that desire to help others even if it means being put in harms way. I know we as parents influence our children in their values and their choices, but I personally believe that there is a higher power that instills higher plans in the hearts of some. I have seen it. We do not know what the journey will be, or how the journey will end, but we have to trust that our children that have been instilled with this plan are doing what they are being called to do, and that it has a purpose. I am grateful for this.
 

matty

5-Year Member
There is an Irish curse: May you live in interesting times.
Today DS got a decidedly TWE from the USNA.
I went through the TWE experience once before when he got a LOA nearly two months ago. At that point, I didn't even know what a TWE was.
Now I am not so naive.
"This can't be good, this can't be good, this can't be good" was all I could think. I mouthed "this is bad" to my DH. As whip sawed as I have been, I felt so perfectly awful for my DS.
DS calmly opened up the envelope, and inside was a cheerful letter informing him he no longer needed a medical waiver and congratulating him on his appointment. Within the hour, one of the MOC's that had nominated him was on the phone, confirming his appointment and congratulating him.
Looking forward to the arrival of the BFE, when this will seem less like a dream and more of a reality for him.
Booked hotels in Annapolis the end of June and mid-August and took time off of work when he got his LOA--waiting for his final decision to book airline tickets for the rest of us.
I think the interesting times are just beginning!
'Twas an emotional roller coaster reading your post :)
 

Invisibility

5-Year Member
Hello parents. I am not a parent. I can't imagine how hard it is to launch a son or a daughter into a potentially dangerous career. I can, however, tell you how it is here:

It is not easy. We wake up early, stay up late, and look forward to breaks so we can sleep for three days solid. There is a rule book a mile high, and cadets themselves have an exacting if unwritten code about what is acceptable and what is not. Each year we must pass tests both literal and figurative.

It should not be easier than it is. If our nation is to be the best on the earth, its military must be the finest possible. That starts here. What you, as parents, laid in terms of a foundation of character and perseverance can be tested and refined. Some cadets and mids don't want to be refined--they want to be "good enough." Shame on them. Shame on me, when that's me.

Nothing worthwhile is gained without suffering. We submit to myriad restrictions on what we can do. What we are gaining is freedom--freedom to achieve success because we have the discipline, character, and grit to make it happen. We accept sad goodbyes at the end of our Academy experience and each tour along the way. We gain a worldwide network of family. We sacrifice our own personal desires and goals. We gain a calling and a purpose that is greater than what we are individually.

Look, I get that it's hard to let your children grow up. But as much as you love them, realize the world isn't always going to be kind, and you can't always shield them. Someday they'll weather the storms of life, and you can be proud, because you've raised an adult. That's kind of the point, isn't it?
 

fencersmother

10-Year Member
Founding Member
Congrats!! Reminder: Bubble Wrap.

I will never, ever, forget that morning at 6 a.m. when I put my TWO babies on a plane to Dallas, where they would pick up the connector to COS. Oh! My tears, proud, scared, sad, excited, could have filled a river.

When they got on the connector to COS, there were maybe six seats on that aircraft NOT filled with incoming basics. They had the time of their lives, and it was just starting.

For parents, we have to remember that when they sign those papers, they are no longer our little sons and daughters, looking to us for advice and support, they are full-fledged adults (See ChristCorp if you doubt this), in the US military, stepping into a world some of us have never known, some know all too well, some love as family...

NOW, make your reservations for Parents Weekend, buy your tickets to the football game, get the sweatshirt, and get ready for the questions from people who don't know any better:

Why isn't your (smart) child going to college?
Does your child know there is a war over there?
Did s/he get a scholarship?

The list is pretty much endless.
 

AF6872

10-Year Member
Robert Gates at 2011 USNA Graduation: Google the video. When he broke down at the end there wasn't a dry eye in the house and it was a big house. Although underappreciated they are another great generation from enlisted and all five Service Academies. As Kipling said "The Thin Red Line" that protects us.
 

Falcon A

Just a Proud Dad
5-Year Member
. . . Although underappreciated they are another great generation from enlisted and all five Service Academies. . . ..
. . . as well as OTS, ROTC and the Senior Military College (SMC) graduates.

As a Service Academy graduate, I have to admit, I was ignorant of what my brothers and sisters in ROTC and the SMCs really have to go through. I'm still learning as my DS is starting his AROTC / VMI journey, but as PIMA and others have educated me via their insightful and informative posts, it also is a difficult road . . one to be proud of . . . that at the end of the day, results in the same place . . . with service to our country.
 

kinnem

Moderator
5-Year Member
Great post, Falcon A! It is a hard road. 45 kids participated in DS's NROTC freshman orientation. Only 17 will commission in May. Hell of an attrition rate.
 

fencersmother

10-Year Member
Founding Member
Boats... snort. (OK OK just kidding)

I like the idea of sock burning, but would have to wait till about Memorial Day here.
 

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
Sock-burning, the tug of war "Slaughter Across the Water" (the citizens of Annapolis vs. the citizens of the Maritime Republic of Eastport (MRE bumper sticker) over the small bridge, and the .02k Run - - annual festivities all worth a smile at the quirkiness of Annapolis. MRE has its own FB and website.
 

how2know

Member
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?
Thank you so much for this. It encapsulates my thoughts to a tee. I am beginning this journey and finding it hard to support and celbrate this decision which is so very foreign to me! Thank you!
 

how2know

Member
local parents group has been a wonderful support group. People you can talk to that understand what your kid is going thru! Have made some amazing new friends. I recommend anyone new to this whole SA thing find a parents group. The help and advice from our group has helped us better understand this very unique world our son has entered.
How does one find this? I am land locked in Colorado.
 

Blondie1

5-Year Member
Facebook---the parent groups are great! Have made some incredible friends through them. USNA Mid Moms and Dads, there is another private group for class of 2019. Goggle USNA Parent Clubs--Colorado doesn't appear to have nearly as many as California. Amazing people are on the same journey you are about to embark on--they offer a tremendous support group. Good luck. Enjoy every moment--even the painful good-byes to your mid.
 
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