Guest Author - Sherrie Knoller
These are the words that most parents donít want to hear ďI want to join the militaryĒ. For some parents itís an honor because their daughter or son wants to follow in the parentsí footsteps but for other parents itís the concern for their safety. As parents we have the right to question their decision because we are protective over our son or daughterís well being. Itís a natural thing to be concern especially when they put their life at risk or choosing a career that has risks.
With services like firefighters and police officers there are risks associated with the job. The military is different because they are signing a contract to serve and their life depending on the job they choose may be a risky one. So it is hard get out of the military unless you are discharge for reasons such as medical, hardship, or complete your term and not re-enlist.
As parents instead of refusing to hear them out and make them feel that they are incapable of making such a big decision. We need to give support to them in every way we can. Your son or daughter can speak to a recruiter to see if the military is right for them. Now the recruiter will try and sell them on everything it is their job but ask the recruiter if you can speak to someone who is in the field they are interested in. It would benefit them to talk to someone who has been on deployments to see what their life is like on a daily basis. Sometimes things sound good on paper but can be completely different in reality. Also, your soon or daughter does not have to chose a job in the military where they are on the front lines. Have them look at the different jobs in the military. Job experience gained in the military can be carried over to civilian jobs which is really beneficial.
It can be hard everyday when you have a loved one serving or a loved one who wants to join the service. You constantly see media on the military. The military does more than just fighting or being involved in conflicts. The military is always there to offer relief efforts and support as we have seen in Japan. So your son or daughter will be apart of organization that not only protects, but also supports other countries that need help. Your son or daughter will be able to travel and meet different people and experience different cultures.
If your son or daughter is still in school try the ROTC program. The ROTC programs are offered at high school and college level. I did an NJROTC program all throughout high school and was extremely beneficial. It is an opportunity to understand what the military is like. The ROTC program gave me opportunities such as staying on a military ship for a week while out sea. I was able to experience what life is like on a military ship working side by side with a military member. It was an interesting view of how military members manage when they are away from their loved ones. Ultimately, it is your son or daughterís decision. So being there and giving unconditional support through a big decision it will benefit both you and your son or daughter.