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Moms Talk: Should Military Plans Prompt Negotiation?

Or should St. Louis parents accept a child's decision to join the military without further discussion?

Many St. Louis-area students are one week into the school year, and some are probably thinking about next summer.

But seniors may be considering weightier matters than that. Suppose your 17-year-old son, who has never set the world afire with his grades, announces one week into his senior year that he plans to join the Army at the end of the school year. He doesn't intend to go to college; he's not sure if he'll have enough credits to graduate from high school.

So onto this week's question: If you found yourself in this situation, would you negotiate? Or would you accept his decision without further discussion?

James Baer August 24, 2011 at 12:45 PM
Laura is right. But sometimes, high school students are quite immature, and a stint in the service just might be the plan to help them grow up? That way, they can use benefits of serving (GI Bill, etc.) to pay for some of that expensive college tuition later on. That works for some who have a plan. Parents should very much be part of the discussion, and the decision.
L Jacoby August 24, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Any time a child wants to put himself or herself in a position to kill or be killed, further discussion is definitely in order. It's nice to think that a stint in the military "just might be the plan to help them grow up," but missing limbs and PTSD are a high price to pay for that possibility. A peace-time military is one thing, but we're fighting in a number of spots right now, so joining the military is a very risky choice.
Olivette Resident August 24, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Absolutely. This is a major life changer. I would definately negotiate. (I accidentily hit "flag as inappropriate but had no way to undo.)
Martha Baur August 25, 2011 at 03:05 AM
As I walk through airports and see young men and women in military uniforms, I often think...they look like babies! Often recruits are right out of high school. College isn't for everyone, and the military is a good alternative for some high school graduates. Joining the military isn't a decision that should be taken lightly. I have to say, as a strong supporter of our service people, I would be very proud if I had a son who joined the army. Protecting America's freedom and defending the defenseless around the world are highly honorable endeavors.
James Baer August 25, 2011 at 01:21 PM
Martha, It is very hard for the current generation of young people to appreciate the risks and honorable service our volunteers are giving. We don't live in the age of World War II where nearly everyone answered the call to duty. Those who volunteer are going back to Afghanistan and Iraq time and again.

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