Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Your stunned silence isn't easing the tension any"

"What the hell do you do when your kid, in my case Jackson, 17 next month, decides to be a warrior?"

- Mike Strobel, Toronto Sun columnist (ht:AfgWatch)

Just because you know the CF is doing good work doesn't mean you want your children facing that sort of danger. I'm sure the parents of aspiring firefighters and policemen feel the same way.

It's not unpatriotic or selfish. It's natural. Feeling fiercely, instinctively, viscerally protective of your kids is part of being a parent, as I've discovered. But at the end of the day, your mission as a parent has to be to let your kids stand on their own - after you've helped them get ready to do just that, partly by being protective.

Hopefully they'll stand for something important, for something they believe in, for something worthwhile. The profession of arms offers all that and more.


Blogger Cameron Campbell said...

We live across the street from these guys and I take our tiny son to Nov 11th stuff every year.

It's something I trying to work out how to balance, respect and my need for him to not be, you know, shot at.

I want him to understand the lesson about the military, and anyone else around him, that my mother taught me when I was very young. "If I ever catch you looking down your nose at someone based on what they do, or where they are from, I'll beat the shit out of you."

So I want him to know that being in the military, is not something that "others" do, but at the same time I really wouldn't want him to join.

8:29 p.m., April 11, 2007  
Blogger Cameron Campbell said...

Oh, hey, now you all can figure out where I live. Wheee!

8:32 p.m., April 11, 2007  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Cameron: Quite. Just let the beggar make up his own mind should he ever show interest. With appropriate counselling!


8:41 p.m., April 11, 2007  
Blogger Paul said...

My son spent his teen years reading history and working hard at school ... he graduated with honors and spent time thinking over what he wanted to do ... he could've gone to college and done just about anything.

Then one day I noticed he was slimming down and that he was running his ass off after work. I inquired and was told that the CF was going to be his new home.

My feelings were a mix of pride and concern. Watching him become motivated and focused was a treat ... considering becoming a grieving parent was not a treat.

He's now a soldier ... several of his friends are shipping out shortly and there's a good chance his turn will come.

My son knew exactly what he was getting into. There was no doubt that he chose his own path for himself and out of pure understanding of what it may mean.

I am as proud as hell that my kid could make such a decision ... if anything happens to him I'll at least be able to say that he was exactly where he wanted to be.

How many parents can say that? As a teacher, I can tell you that many parents lament the aimlessness and lack of rudder that their children have. I'm not one.

I never want to become one of the grieving ... but I'd be completely remiss as a parent standing in the way of my child making an informed decision to become a soldier. My role now is support ... I'm his logistics train.

Over the years I've attended the funerals of students killed while drunk and driving; or suicides; or victims of crime and violence; or crippled from any of the above.

If I had to choose a bad end ... it would not be one of these.

11:11 p.m., April 11, 2007  
Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

My kids are six and three right now, which means I'm still in Papa Bear mode when it comes to protection vs. independence. But at some point they'll be grown, and I'll have to remember the fact that I was eighteen myself when I swore an oath and put on a uniform.

Eyes open, though. If you're going to do it, you have to go in with eyes open - research, talk with soldiers you trust, etc. I think too many people join with unrealistic expectations, and it's not like a normal job where you can quit and get sent packing that same day if you don't think it's for you.

7:49 a.m., April 12, 2007  
Blogger MarkCh said...

My kids are two, six and nine, so they certainly won't be joining the CF for a while yet. But if any of them choose to show the courage needed to be a member of the Forces, I certainly hope that I will have the courage needed to support their choice in public.

9:24 a.m., April 12, 2007  

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