Donovan and I went to see the Army recruiter yesterday in Watertown. It was part of our deal that when exploring his options for the future, especially college, that he talk to the Army recruiter and listen with an open mind and take the ASVAB. With the economy the way it is, full ride scholarships are becoming fewer and farther between and the cost of tuition keeps going up. And let’s face it. An Army family is NOT made of money AND there are still three more children after him. College is HUGELY important to him so I wanted him to know all the options open to him so that he can make the best decision for himself. That was what yesterday was about. Listening, learning, and getting some sense of other options out there to gain his goal.
So we met with SSG Mower yesterday afternoon and I was very impressed with him. Recruiters sometimes get a bad rap, unfortunately sometimes deserved, for BSing people to meet recruitment quotas. There was none of that with this guy, no sugar coating of the facts. A mark of a good recruiter, in my eyes. Of course, most of what he had to say we both knew already, which kind of happens when both parents have been or are active duty and have, between them, run the gamut of MOSs! But we did learn a couple new things, one of which directly related to college stuff. As of August 1st, the Montgomery GI Bill is changing. It used to be that the soldier paid $100 a month for the first year of service and then received the GI Bill benefits. As the amount authorized raised, the soldier was grandfathered into receiving that higher amount. Now the soldier no longer pays into it, and not only receives the money to pay for school,but also recieves an additional stipend that is to help with living expenses, books, etc. All of this, on TOP of your regular paycheck, if you choose to use your GI Bill while still in the Army. This is in addition to the tuition assistance program still in place. So the soldier basically gets their college education for free, usually in accelerated terms so they finish faster, all while receiving a full paycheck and the additional stipend. That is a very good deal. The other new thing was a program for seniors. If the senior enlists before they graduate, they receive $500 a month every month until they ship, which is kind a neat thing.
So that was all yesterday was about. Listening and learning about another option to get what he wants for his future. Little did I know the amount of shit I was going to take for taking him to the recruiter. Since then, I have been called a bad mother, told I was forcing him into something, told that I underestimate my son, told that I was stupid for supporting the idea, yelled at, criticized and degraded. Opinions are one thing, and those I appreciate, even if they are different from mine. What I don’t appreciate is being called names, yelled at, jumped on, insulted and judged. Especially when it comes from people who have absolutely no right to judge me for anything, much less this.
It irritates the hell out of me, especially since the whole point was simply to give him options to get his goal. If he chooses another path, that is perfectly okay and I will support anything he does. Hell, if he decides to say screw it all, and runs off to join the circus, I will ask for freaking tickets! The whole point is his happiness, his future, and getting what is important to him. All this was about was giving him choices. HIS choices, not mine. Get off my freaking back already and stop judging me.
Brian is using the new Post 9/11 GI Bill to pay for school, not only does it pay the tuition, it gives him the money for books and $1000 a month for housing here in Columbus! After 20 years and not being able to take any classes while he has been active duty, I figure he deserves a free ride with some added perks!
Donovan will make his choices based on his desires and his knowledge; no one should criticize you for making sure he gets all the facts before he chooses a path.
1. Why on earth are people judging? And how on earth are you being a bad mother by giving him choices???
2. Love the layout!!!
So – That’s what the judging is all about. Aaargh.
Now I do have issues with the military – based mostly on Bryan’s experiences as a Combat Engineer in the Reserves and seeing the garbage that families like yours put up with. I have told my nephew that I will personally break his kneecaps when he turns 17 if he continues to insist on pursuing his career goal of combat engineer.
That is because there are so many other options that he could pursue in the military that would leave him with highly valuable career skills when his enlistment is up. Bry often laments that he didn’t enlist as a medic – he could have, there was a unit in Malone at that time and he had the scores to be accepted but he would have had to wait for his training and that didn’t jive with his schedule for college that year. Instead he took the quick route and his experience didn’t really enrich his career possibilities very much and was particularly – well – useless. The person in his unit responsible for dealing with GI bill paperwork to re-pay college loans was totally incompetent and Bry probably only saw 60% of that benefit. :(
But anyway –
You are doing the responsible thing. Donovan knows what military life is like. He knows that it is a dangerous career. He knows that there is a certain amount of corruption in the military and that it is Hell on Family life. He will make the decision that is right for him and he has time to think about it now and is fully informed. Good for you.