sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Weekend Sermonette

Yes, it's time for yet another rant and Weekend Sermonette.

"Dr. Everything'll be alright (the Beverly Hills shrink)
Will make everything go wrong
Pills and thrills and dafodills will kill
Hang tough children" - Prince (RIP), Let's go Crazy

Prince Rogers Nelson died of a drug overdose a couple of days ago. He should have taken his own advice (above).

Continuing with the Sermonette (rant):

I'm a proponent of military service for young men in particular. I've had a number of work colleagues over the years approach me about the difficulties that their sons have had. In most cases, I recommended the military for a number of reasons. You can learn a trade, go to school, see the world and get paid to do it.  If you don't know how to tie your shoes or wipe your ass, they will train you to do that. In fact, they will teach you everything that you need to know to be a functioning, working, productive human being.

Boys who don't have that sort of forced direction (away from mommy and daddy) struggle with "finding themselves". Nothing is better for a young man than being part of a team doing important things. Nothing is better than learning to get up in the morning, make your bed, keep your gear clean, shine your shoes and be respectful.  And while there are jerks in the service, I found that there were fewer there than elsewhere (by proportion).  Some, like current Secretary of State John (Swiftboat) Kerry, turned out to be genuine turds. You can cite these examples all day, but they are the exception, not the rule.

Joe Dincol became the iconic face of ObamaCare
as 'pajama boy', sitting around the house with a cup
of hot chocolate, talking about who was going to pay
for his health insurance.
Some young men don't meet the physical requirements necessary to join the military, others have issues, or they're on their way to higher education - but there is education that is not in any text book and based on my experiences in life, it is more valuable. I have a Masters in mathematics from the Naval Postgraduate School but what I learned out 'there', has had significantly more value to me than the sheep skin.

The important thing for young men is to go out, well beyond their comfort zone and learn to deal with it...whatever comes.

31 comments:

  1. Well said.

    The military educator can certainly explain life in ways that even pajama boy will understand. If you wash out of the military, you likely have no hope of ever becoming a productive member of society. If you make it through a tour or two of duty, you're good to go.

    Most likely.

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    1. That's my take on it. There are institutional people in the military who find a home there, but with "high year tenure", you go up or out so it's not the sinecure that it once was. And it prepares you for life.

      Many a young man was saved (from himself) by the military.

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    2. The military straightened me out in the long run, that's for sure. I was heading down the wrong path with guns a-blazin'

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    3. You're not the only one.

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  2. Amen to that. Our middle son did two tours in Iraq. And while the Army didn't seem to help him organize, he is a better person for it.

    Military or a technical school would help. I like the idea in Starship Troopers. Service for citizenship - or the right to vote - but that is probably too harsh.
    So many jobs in the military don't require you to be really tough. Just tough enough to get through basic.

    Be safe and have a blessed weekend!

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    1. Getting through basic training is more than most pajama boys are able to accomplish in an entire life of tepid effort and blaming other people.

      Boys need to get away from mom and dad and learn to be men. There are other ways to do it, but the military works.

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    2. Helped me with my temper. An hour of double time in full pack and rifle gives you time to reflect in a constructive way.

      Pity the D.I.s correcting years of bad parenting.

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    3. And tormenting everyone for what (whoever in the team) did wrong. You learn not to let people down. The process lenses you (to yourself) in a way that the bad parenting (and even good parenting) can't address.

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  3. It makes me think of friend who has sent his son off to Michigan for college because he thinks the kid needs to "get away from mom and dad and grow up." Except everything short of his taking a d..., well, never mind, is plastered on Facebook. He is seriously in more contact with mummy and dada then before he was shipped off. Not to mention the constant praise and adulation heaped on him for every little thing he does. He looks quite like pajama boy, so he'd never make one week into basic training. Pity.

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    1. Sending the boy off to college can be useful, but it's not at all the same thing. Universities are hotbeds of BULLSHIT. He's more likely to return with a boyfriend named Bruce, onesie pajamas and a "Prince Albert" piercing than he is to come back with what he'd receive from service at the point of the spear.

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  4. Amen, it can work for girls too. My daughter was in the Navy for eight years. Saw the larger world, and got a glimpse of the bigger picture. She did just fine. Her oldest son has been a Navy corpsman for eight with multiple deployments in harms way. He gets out this summer a Man.

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    1. It can work for women as well, but boys need to be turned into men and the process is painful...like molding clay. Boys need to be tamed away from mom and dad, and learn how a warrior is expected to behave. I realize that there are components of the military where you don't get much of that - but even a small dose is better than nothing.

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    2. Agreed.
      So how do you explain the Cowman & his four brothers, none went into the military. Fought like demons with each other and their best friends, had impeccable manners, morals, and bearing. Was it their grandfather's influence early on or...

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    3. Maybe hard work and brotherhood with iron discipline? I wouldn't suggest that the military is the only route to manhood, but in an increasingly urban and suburban world, life in the country with endless chores and responsibility for livestock, etc. isn't available, it is one of the few alternatives for many young men.

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  5. Agreed. I think it teaches valuable lessons, discipline and character.

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    1. You have three responses: Yes Sir/Ma'am, No Sir/Ma'am, No excuse Sir/Ma'am and "I don't understand Sir/Ma'am. There is no whining allowed. (no pajama boys in onesies begging for stuff they didn't earn) America's young men whine a great deal and BLAME everything and everyone for problems. If you screwed it up, you own what you did.

      If a young man comes away with that and that alone, he's much richer for the experience and becomes a useful member of society.

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  6. It didn't do me any harm, and I learned that you can bull a gas mask till it shines like glass. That breaks them, of course. Carry on.

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    1. Breaking the gas mask is not the point. Keeping your kit spotless is. You can't over-shine your boots or your saddle.

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  7. "The important thing for young men is to go out, well beyond their comfort zone and learn to deal with it...whatever comes."

    Well said!

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    1. It's not all about the military. That seems to be one of the few places left for young men to stretch themselves in an environment where discipline and order is the rule.

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  8. I kinda-sorta did it in the cockpit and on the race track.

    I'm probably lucky I'm still alive....

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    1. I never thought that I'd see 30. It's amazing that karma didn't run over my dogma.

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  9. I didn't have to go away from Mommy and Daddy, my parents sent me away anyhow to boarding school. But we were Missionaries in a foreign country, and getting sent away 500-miles distance was no sweat for a tough fifth-grader. We were already foot-soldiers in God's Army, so a little discipline wasn't too hard to bear. We didn't live in a US Gov. compound with luxuries like a PX that had Coca-Cola and hot-dogs or Fudgesicles either. We were in the sticks with occasional electrical power and occasional water flowing at various times of day. Mom cooking on a kerosene stove that stank-up the house. There were bugs like you've never seen before unless you've been out at night in South Asia. Florida's probably close.
    Boarding School was a bit of Independence! Polish your shoes for Church on on Sundays, light the boiler at 6:00AM so there's hot water in the boy's dorm showers, class begins at 8:00 after breakfast, and if you're late for breakfast the door's locked, sucker. Try to run away and you better speak Tamil real good and have a dark and dirty tan.

    I used to like to think of addiction and drugs as "victimless crimes," in a very Libertarian "If it doesn't hurt anybody else..." (virtue-signaling) way, but that means you're a disconnected person. Drug-use can be very hurtful and nearly destroy a family. Ask my Sister. Criminal use can destroy a person and kill other people caught in the crossfire. And drug use to the point of OD or multiple near OD's is really attempted suicide, hardly "a cry for help." Saying "I never thought I'd outlive Prince," is too easy. I wasn't surprised a bit when I heard the news. Of course I didn't have his access to drugs and women and the whole rock-and-roll lifestyle either, but I did things on my motorcycle on the street, that I really-really should not have done and am sometimes surprised to wake up on the breathing side.

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    1. I had friends who grew up in that setting as well in Bangladesh. They were sent to Afghanistan to school. The world didn't seem quite so complicated in that era. I think that would be quite different from Sri Lanka, which is a world unto itself.

      It's interesting to reflect back on what we did/didn't do/should or should not have done. I was never very good at rules in the institutional sense. I'm still not - but things like drugs never appealed because I saw the cause and effect and it's NEVER pretty.

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    2. Viz. drugs, that's for sure. I disliked boarding school (UK) because I hated the "institutional rules" -- looking back on it, I should have been grateful. I am, now.

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    3. You still aren't really a "rules guy" or you'd be linked at the hip with the Arch Bishop who calls the shots.

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  10. Had I life to do all over again, I would join the service. Since I don't I can say that not having joined is my only life regret. In my now pretty long life experience, the men and women I have met who have served or are currently serving, have more to offer as friends and colleagues than far and away most non-serving people I've encountered to date in 33 years (note: I'm counting from my 25th birthday, because before that, most men don't know shit, and I was definitely one of 'em). In my experience, people who have served are more balanced, sensible, compassionate, humorous, FRIENDLY, accepting and reasonable, than ANY of those who didn't but instead attended an "Ivy" to advance their personal struggle on behalf of humanity and the down-trodden masses. [Wink, wink.....].

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    1. There is a sense of balance that comes with seeing the world through non-tourist eyes. There is also a sense of humility (it's true!) that comes from taking orders, smiling and saying "aye-aye sir".

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  11. Agreed! The military changed me, for the better!

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    1. You'd have been ferrying black market goods from here to there in the third world in an old wreck of a plane, ducking behind mountains and keeping it under the radar, I fear.

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