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Military – Enlisting - The Right Choice – Or Not

Updated on June 11, 2009

The Right Choice – Or Not


By and large U.S. Military Troops are made up of brave, dedicated, honorable Americans.  These men and women are not drafted nor are they coerced.  They choose to serve.  They deserve our utmost respect and gratitude.



In light of economic changes a disturbing trend is developing among young men and women who graduated high school in recent years.  Those who did not apply themselves to their studies so as to pave the way to furthering their education have spent their time since high school job-hopping.  They take jobs and leave them at any whim.  Without a stable employment record, with no education or specific skill, they are opting, as a last resort, to enlist in whichever branch of the military is willing to accept their number of tattoos. 


Previously indulged teens, now in their twenties, are being told by parents it is time to get their act together and take responsibility for supporting themselves and building a future.


The military can be the answer.  With the right attitude from the enlisted much strength of character and self-confidence can be developed.  There are excellent training programs that offer a bright future for those returning to civilian life.  Lives can be changed and led in directions never before even considered.


Lives can also be lost.  Entering military service because someone suggested you might give it shot after you’ve walked away from your last job because it interfered with your social schedule is not a good idea.  It’s not like the video games you’ve been playing.  You can’t hit restart or pause it and walk away when you get tired or aggravated.

Things to consider before you enlist:

You have to do what you are told, when you are told to do it – no questions asked – no backtalk!

 Basic training isn’t just a workout and it isn’t an option. It is weeks of punishing physical and mental challenges from sun up to sundown

During basic training you won’t have weekends off. You won’t have any days off and you won’t spend time with the opposite sex.

After basic training you will have job duties to fulfill – you cannot be late and you cannot call out sick.

There will be long separations from family and friends.

You will dress, look and act as you are told – no whining or arguing – you won’t like the punishment. It will make being grounded sound fun.

If deployed there is a very real chance of your being injured or killed.

While deployed others very lives, as well as you own, rely on your judgment and actions. Better pay attention in these classes!

Parental Influence:

 Most everyone goes through the phase of “finding oneself”.  Parents try to be tolerant and often rationalize this partying, laziness; lack of focus and taking advantage as just part of that phase.  Unfortunately if it goes on too long, the parent hasn’t give their child freedom, instead they have dealt up limited future options.

Can a parent really feel good or even hopeful when the young person going off to fight and serve has never lived outside their parent’s home, doesn’t have a clue how to do laundry or pay bills, has never even been responsible for carrying out weekly chores? The military can be too rude an awakening for a pampered golden child. Just because a certain age is reached doesn’t mean everything you were never taught becomes second nature. Not everyone has inbred survival instincts either.

Is it fair that dedicated, well-trained personnel will be relying on the newly enlisted that may have managed to squeak through basic training to back them up in the most dire of circumstances? It is heart-wrenching to think because some parents no longer want to take a hard line their child or someone else’s loved one might pay the ultimate price.

Setting up ground rules and enforcing them may not make you the most popular parent of a teenager, but the successful adult who is self-confident rather than cocky, motivated rather than mooching, well-grounded rather than floundering, will be most thankful to have had such a parent. Every child from toddlers on up has to be taught acceptable behaviors and know their actions have rewards and/or consequences. You don’t have to be a drill sergeant. You have to share joy and special experiences to bond with your child and raise a well-rounded individual. It’s tough, but you have to find the age appropriate balance of lessons to be taught to prepare you child for the transition into adulthood.

 If the military is mentioned be sure it is being considered for the right reasons after researching all the information available.  You wouldn’t send service personnel into battle unarmed, so don’t send a young person into service without being thoroughly informed.  No choice that can involve life and death should be made without support, advice and the correct information from an unimpeachable source.


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