Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Army Ambitions Don’t Sit Well with Parents

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I graduated high school two years ago. Unlike my older brother and sister, I didn’t want to go to college, which didn’t make my parents too happy. We worked out a deal that I’d try community college for a year and if it didn’t get me hooked on more school, I could follow my own path and go into the army.

Well I pretty much bombed my boring gen ed classes that seemed like a repeat of the boring classes I hated in high school. My parents think I failed on purpose, but I just couldn’t make it work.

I’ve been working with my local army recruiting office and have decided to enlist as a mechanic. I’ve played around with cars for as long as I can remember, and in high school I took as many shop classes as I could. I always did much better in them than I did my regular classes.

Right now my mom and dad are steamed that I’m going into the service. They think I’m just doing it because I don’t know what else to do. But after two years of part time dead end jobs, I see it as a real path that I’m taking on purpose. How do I convince them this is what’s right for me? --- ARMY READY

DEAR ARMY READY: I applaud your ambition to go into the service, but I also get your parents’ reservations. Remember they too will serve so long as you do. It’s a family commitment.

It may help make your case if you include them in the recruiting process. Introduce your parents to your recruiter so they can ask questions and voice concerns. Beyond being first and foremost salesmen/women for the service branch they represent, recruiters are also good sources of information.

Stress to your mom and dad that once you graduate boot camp you’ll begin job-specific training, the kind you’d either have to pay for or gain on-the-job in the outside world, only Uncle Sam will be picking up your tab.

Remind them that if you go career, when you retire you’ll have a pension, lifetime healthcare coverage, GI benefits, and a boatload of experience, all of which put you in a pretty good place from which to launch a second career.

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