DEAR HARRIETTE: I have three nephews who are in the armed forces. They joined because that was the only way they could get a college education. Well, and for one of them, his parents thought it would be good discipline for him. He had been getting into all kinds of trouble during high school. So far, so good. They have served several tours of duty in the Middle East, and that worries their parents and the rest of the family.
I am bringing this up because I have a son who is of the age to go to college, work or the military. He wants to be like his cousins. I want to be supportive, but the possibility of him being sent to war worries me. I want to be patriotic and in his corner, but I am conflicted. How can I calm myself? -- Making a Choice, Dallas
DEAR MAKING A CHOICE: Talk to your son and have him share his interests with you -- unfiltered. Just listen to him express his goals and dreams. Find out if he has talked to his cousins about their decisions. If not, suggest that he reach out to them to get insider thoughts on their experiences.
Share your concerns with him about his safety. It is natural for you to worry. At the same time, this could be a great opportunity for him. Review the pros and cons with him. Ultimately, let him make the decision. If he decides to enlist, continue to actively stay in touch with him, offering your love, support and prayers. You may want to join a support group of parents of people in the military.