I know this is blog is primarily intended for prospective cadets. That being said, I’m going to take the road less traveled and address a different demographic with this entry. Many of you readers have received or will be receiving appointments to the Academy, and for that I congratulate you. And I ask you now to call your parents over, who may have mixed reactions to this occurrence in your life, and ask them to give up a couple minutes of their time for this entry.
Why hello, parents, it’s very nice to meet you! Your child just got his or her appointment, and from what I’ve heard from my own classmates, either you’re thrilled or very worried. Regardless of which category you belong to, I have some advice for you. I got it from watching my own parents, and how they’ve walked with me from day one of my Coast Guard career, starting with when I originally considered applying.
You want the best for your child and so you might very well want to offer your insight into their college choices. When you do this, remember to consider whatever you believe will make your daughter or son happiest – not just now, but in the future. Not just what you think is best, but what you see as being best for them. My parents both attended the Air Force Academy, and I actually had appointments to both there and the Coast Guard. I often get asked if they ever pushed me into accepting my USAFA appointment. I am very fortunate to be able to say “no.” This is because my parents knew a very important truth about attending a service academy – to survive at one, to thrive, you must absolutely want to be there. My parents knew me well enough to know that the Air Force was a great place, and was their dream, but not the place that would ultimately make me happy. If there was any pressure, it was toward the Coast Guard because they understood that the missions of this force aligned best with my desires and aspirations. I know they would have leapt for joy had I become a Zoomie, but they did something I have always been thankful for – they encouraged me to take a path even they didn’t know much about, and become a Coastie. (They might be wondering what went wrong, considering I grew up ten minutes from an Air Force base, but God works in very strange ways.)
They supported my decision, and I could not be more grateful for that. Parents, your child has a huge decision in front of him or her. You’ll have your own thoughts on that decision, and they may or may not line up with what your child is thinking. Please, please, please, and please again – offer your positive support wherever he or she winds up going. You have no idea just yet how much of a difference it makes to know that, even when the cadre are in your face or the homework is piled on the desk, there are people at home who are proud of you and invested in your success. It’s a difficult school, and every cadet here has bad days and wants that encouragement. Help your child stick with the challenges of the Academy – and then you’ll get that idea I just mentioned. And I’ll bet you’ll find it feels awesome.
More about Abby.