Opinions wanted.

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hookahdude
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Opinions wanted.

Post by hookahdude » Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:29 pm

Yeah - I know the can of worms that could open up, but for the most part - eplaya has a pretty good variety of peeps on it - so here goes...

My son is 17 and will be 18 this coming April. He was held behind in school and will be graduating from High School when he is 19. He was raised by his mother due ot divirce and my needing to move away from where he was to find a job to pay the ass-rape of alimony amount that was court ordered. He is in counseling because his mother died last year and he has ADD and I just want to make sure that I am doing everything I can to get him the help he needs to deal with that whole negative trip.

Here is the deal - I have been watching for years as kids flop around with no idea about what they are going to do post high school - many go to college to get a degree and go become part of the machine in some capacity or another. My son has no desire to do much of anything other than practice and play guitar.. which is actually pretty cool and in a year he has made pretty amazing progress. However, I don't want to have him living in the basement when he is 30 eeking out money as a street performer. Over the summer he showed a willingness and desire to earn money to buy a new guitar which I applaude him for. When we sat down a while back to discuss his plans - it was a less than productive conversation.

Now, last summer, not only did he work, but he performed volunteer time at a local community center and did a very good job and seemed to really enjoy helping people - soooo here it goes...

I had a sit down with him a month or so ago and told him - "Here is the deal - you have no goals or desires for what you want to do after High School - correct me if I am wrong.." Nope. "Ok, cool. Next school year you are going to take Spanish all year and next Summer I am going to send you on a "Volunteer vacation to Cuzco, Peru for 4-6 weeks." Eyes perked up and I had his attention. "You will spend 4-6 weeks helping locals with shit they help with and you will basically get immersed in the local culture. In your senior year you will take another year of Spanish. Half way throgh your senior year, you and I are going to sit down and fill out your application for the Peace Corps. We are resume building. What do you think?" He said he thought it was a great idea. I also told him that if he comes up with something different between now and then, that I would help him in any way I can to achieve his goals.

So the question is - am I being a totalitarian asshole for giving my son marching orders due to his own lack of direction? I mean, I am giving him the opportunity to come up with something different, but he actually seems to really dig the idea that I came up with...
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Elderberry » Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:53 pm

I think you are doing the exactly right thing! Hey, your son agrees with you too! What more confirmation do you need?

Actually, before getting to the end, I was thinking you should say he had to go to college and major in music, but your solution seems to be perfect.
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Ataki » Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:53 pm

I think the option you offered him is great. I wish my father was around to give me an opportunity like that. I was raised by my grandfather, and had a similar lack of direction. His advice was "Get a job. If you can afford it then, go to school". Sending your son out into the world to help people, and learn things from a radically new perspective will open his future up to a whole new world. If he chooses to do otherwise, at least he picked a path, Instead of wandering aimlessly through life like so many of us do.
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Savannah » Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:54 pm

I'm not a parent, but . . . this sounds good to me. I think I have a friend who did Peace Corps somewhere in South America . . . I'd better double-check with him about his experience and PM you, but to my memory of the conversation, it was a positive experience (and I think he still remembers his Spanish). And I really like how he turned out as a person.

Kids crave guidance, even if they're not going to beg you for it. You don't seem like a totalitarian asshole at all, in my opinion. It's good of you to ask that question of yourself though, and seek other perspectives. Some people never do.

If, while you're helping push him into the world, you're also certain he knows you love him--i.e. you tell him, straight out--I would imagine you're doing pretty well under challenging circumstances.

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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by hookahdude » Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:45 pm

I am heartened by the responses so far. I am trying to do the right thing. I appreciate it!!
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Zulegoona » Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:08 pm

I hate to be the one to say it, but yes that skirt does make your ass look big,…


As far as that other mater, it’s a plan, no matter if he works towards it or in some other direction he will work at something. By providing a concrete option he will be forced to think about his future in concrete terms. It’s all too easy at any age to procrastinate at making hard decisions, particularly when it feels like by choosing any path you might cut yourself off from that one true path you should be on. Forcing the issue forces a decision and eventual he will see if it was right or wrong. He’ll also see those other paths didn’t disappear just because he wasn’t on them at the start, and if they did they were headed nowhere anyway.

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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by ibdave » Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:10 pm

that was plan B if either one of mine needed it.. Good choice..
To bad he could not have spent a month on the Playa on Temple crew... Now talk about change. 8)
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by hookahdude » Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:12 pm

ibdave wrote:that was plan B if either one of mine needed it.. Good choice..
To bad he could not have spent a month on the Playa on Temple crew... Now talk about change. 8)
Nice! Maybe if he comes back from the Peace Corps and is still clueless I feed him to DPW for a season! LOL!
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by moonrise » Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:20 pm

jkisha wrote:I think you are doing the exactly right thing! Hey, your son agrees with you too! What more confirmation do you need?

Actually, before getting to the end, I was thinking you should say he had to go to college and major in music, but your solution seems to be perfect.
I agree with you, jkisha and Sav's statement is right on too, especially the last sentence loosely quoted 'make sure he knows you realy, truly love him!!!'

It took some time for me to learn that volunteering is where you meet quality people; my mother finally convinced me to try some here n there and it's lead to many worthwhile realtionships.

After his peace corps experience it could result in him deciding to choose to go to college and finish with a a degree. This might require more fatherly guidance, or maybe not if it works out very well.
Either way, he's lucky to have you as his father hookahdude!
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Drawingablank » Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:42 pm

As a parent who has never faced the challenge of unmotivated kids I may not be the right one to advise you on this, but my gut says you are doing the right thing.

Kids that age need a direction and not all are able to choose their own without some guidance. He is agreeable so that means a lot (many kids that age would not agree with their parents just for the sake of disagreeing).

It is equally important that he knows that should he choose otherwise, you will stand behind his decision.
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Btrja » Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:48 pm

I would of loved if my parents did something like this for me. That sound awesome. Kuddos to you for the innovative thinking in this.

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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by ygmir » Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:57 pm

yer bein' a good dad........good on ya for it!!!
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by theCryptofishist » Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:39 pm

I thought that you pretty much had to have a college degree to join the Peace Corps. Now, if you've researched this and I'm wrong, but if you don't know for sure, then maybe you should check into it.
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Elderberry » Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:47 pm

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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by hookahdude » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:06 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:I thought that you pretty much had to have a college degree to join the Peace Corps. Now, if you've researched this and I'm wrong, but if you don't know for sure, then maybe you should check into it.
It is described as helpful but not necessary. They list volunteer experience and a desire to do the kind of work they are doing. They also list the ages as 18+. The plan is to completely top load my son's resume with experience, language skills, and a volunteer history to offset the lack of the degree. Speaking with a PC recruiter on the issue he said that the experience should be an equalizer because a lot of degree holders have limited experience. Good point, and having given this a lot of thought, I did indeed do a little research. I appreciate the though and insight!
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by maryanimal » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:42 pm

My 3rd son has always had maturity issues. My (almost ex) husband told me his ex wife didn't nourish herself when she was preggers with him. He is ADD, he has a slight tick, and has no goals to become any better than he is. His Father loves him but isn't really a good role model. He slides from one low-paying, go know where job in the fast food indusrty. I feel his maturity issue stem from being deprived of nutrients in vitro. He's slow on the uptake. But show him how to do something and he's a good worker! I've always told him he can do anything or be anything he wants. College is out of the question because he lacks the concentration abilities. I told Les that Christian will probably always live with him. He's gone out on his own twice, living a year with each of his older brothers, only to come back home to dad. I Told Les this and he's ok with it. I told him to tell his gf that you and christian are a package deal. I love Christian very much and he tries so very hard.

What I want to tell you HookahDude is your son sounds like he could really have a great future ahead of him and I applaude you for what you're willing to do for him! You my friend, are a GOOD dad! You rock! I wish I had a dad like you when I was young. I had an absentee sperm donor growing up.
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by trilobyte » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:50 pm

It sounds like you're doing the right thing. Whether your son shows it or not, he may be freaking out about what the hell to do with his life too. This gives him not only more time to work that out, but does so in a way where he's doing something that matters.

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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by bubbavic » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:56 pm

I love what you're doing for your son. Not everyone's cut out to do the standard high school > college > corp career track. I think working with him to give him options that meet what he might actually better suited towards is admirable and rare. The key for me was when you added if you found a different track you'd be willing to work with him on that. That to me says you're not being a totalitarian asshat. Bravo.

Best of luck to the kid! I kind of envy him actually. =)
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Elderberry » Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:02 pm

Now I'm even more impressed! Maybe we should be asking you for advice.
hookahdude wrote:
theCryptofishist wrote:I thought that you pretty much had to have a college degree to join the Peace Corps. Now, if you've researched this and I'm wrong, but if you don't know for sure, then maybe you should check into it.
It is described as helpful but not necessary. They list volunteer experience and a desire to do the kind of work they are doing. They also list the ages as 18+. The plan is to completely top load my son's resume with experience, language skills, and a volunteer history to offset the lack of the degree. Speaking with a PC recruiter on the issue he said that the experience should be an equalizer because a lot of degree holders have limited experience. Good point, and having given this a lot of thought, I did indeed do a little research. I appreciate the though and insight!
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by hookahdude » Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:44 pm

jkisha wrote:Now I'm even more impressed! Maybe we should be asking you for advice.
Oh Lord - Don't be!

After him we have one more to go. I really want alone time with the wife dammit!!! Besides, I already have plans for his room... Muahahahahaha!

Ooops.. Did I say that out loud?

My thought is that after he completes his time in the PC they give him a check for $8k+ - good seed money. Maybe he will stay in Latin America to continue work - maybe he will come to the States to go to school, hell, maybe he will go to San Francisco to become a street musician - the key is that I want him to get some kind of good life experiences under his belt before he does make that decision. I don't give a crap is he becomes a millionaire - I want him to be able to follow his heart when it is all said and done. (As long as it doesn't lead him to my basement in his 30's!!!)
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Dr Jet Sinister » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:45 am

Find many people that joined the Peace Corps and talk with them before sending your child there. A personal friend of mine was sent to Kiribati. Apparently, this is somewhere where the locals were not pleased with the Peace Corps 'interfering' and they tried to kill him.

Seriously. They set his residence on fire while he was sleeping. He was able to grab his backpack and kick through the wall to escape. He wasn't allowed to leave or transfer until he became seriously ill and had to be moved to Australia for medical treatment. He faced many hostilities until it escalated to the fire, but the Peace Corps will not let you leave or transfer once you are placed. As for female volunteers, it's usually much much worse.

Just to clarify, this calm, kind, and gentle man has a masters in non-profit management and is about 5'4". I wouldn't want anyone to assume he was some asshole yahoo that instigated any violence.

There are many non-profit volunteer opportunities in the world to consider other than a cold war born, nation building, "winning the hearts of the locals" propaganda campaigns.
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by junglesmacks » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:16 am

FWIW..

I'm a 36 year old "kid" with a swiss army knife of skills.. and adding more daily. The desire to learn and grow and do I feel has come from an early age and was primarily instilled by my biological father. That man at every chance he got would show me something.. ANYTHING. Starting at about age 5, it was computers, electronics, models, oscilloscopes, HAM radios, cars, home building, plumbing, gardening, camping, guns.. you name it. From an early age I was shown how fun it was to learn and do and build and create. I personally see that desire as the most important thing that man taught me. It's through the desire to learn things.. not the actual knowledge.. that I feel that we grow the most.

I've seen this difference illustrated first hand by being the oldest brother to 4 younger siblings.. all fathered by by my step-dad. While being a great guy, he was never the type to do much with the other kids. Saturdays were spent with him on the computer, and the kids running amuck outside. While there was some teaching being done to my next oldest brother, as the years went on and the amount of kids grew.. so did my parents' energy level and propensity to take time and show new skills to each child. Now that the chain of children runs from 36 to 17 years old, I can clearly see the progression of parenting and skill sets/motivation with each child.

What I'm trying to say here is that parents.. I urge you to do things and show things to your children.. constantly. Give them that desire to learn and that "OOOOO WOW!!" factor as much as possible. Take them to museums, build things with them, show them how to change that oil in the car or build some cool lighting project or campsite or fishing or whatever.. just do things with them whatever they may be from a young age!

The appreciation for input input input starts from day 1.


Alright.. enough thread drift...

My personal, non-parental observation for the OP FWIW: BRAVO! Braaaaavo. Giving your kids the extra push to gain a perspective outside of our own in this country is so invaluable.. wow. I wouldn't trade the 6 years I spent living in Central America for anything. It made me the person that I am today without a doubt. Although.. I wouldn't depend on the PC, as from what I've heard they are getting quite selective. I knew a girl with her masters degree that was fighting to get accepted. They don't just take anyone anymore by a long shot. But, don't let that discourage you. I think the main thing is to include him in everything that you do. Keep showing him, encouraging him, gently pushing him. He'll get it.

In the end though, also don't become an enabler to non-motivated, leech behavior. While it sucked at the time.. I've thanked my family many times over for the gentle/not-so-gentle shove they gave me out the door at a young age. I was taught to sink or swim from a young age, and it was of any skill I've learned the greatest one that has been self taught.
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Elderberry » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:35 am

Dr Jet Sinister wrote:Find many people that joined the Peace Corps and talk with them before sending your child there. A personal friend of mine was sent to Kiribati. Apparently, this is somewhere where the locals were not pleased with the Peace Corps 'interfering' and they tried to kill him.

Seriously. They set his residence on fire while he was sleeping. He was able to grab his backpack and kick through the wall to escape. He wasn't allowed to leave or transfer until he became seriously ill and had to be moved to Australia for medical treatment. He faced many hostilities until it escalated to the fire, but the Peace Corps will not let you leave or transfer once you are placed. As for female volunteers, it's usually much much worse.

Just to clarify, this calm, kind, and gentle man has a masters in non-profit management and is about 5'4". I wouldn't want anyone to assume he was some asshole yahoo that instigated any violence.

There are many non-profit volunteer opportunities in the world to consider other than a cold war born, nation building, "winning the hearts of the locals" propaganda campaigns.
Can't be any worse than those self-righteous religious missionaries.
And they can't stop you from leaving if you want to go. The only thing they can do is not pay for your exit, so as long as you can get the money to buy your plane ticket, you can get the he'll out of Dodge anytime you decide to bail.
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Trishntek » Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:42 pm

Your plan sounds like a good foundation for your son to expand his horizons. As a parent of grown children and a grandparent of 3, here are a couple of thoughts:

Right now, start helping him build a tool box. Get some wood, some screws, hardware, a measuring device, a hand saw, some basic screw drivers and a hand-operated drill. Make a tool box with a lid on it that he can call his own. It gives a youngster an appreciation for craftsmanship and the effort that goes into making the simplest things. Plus, on his Birthday and holidays, give him another tool to call his own. Show him how to use and care for them. Encourage him to help with projects around the house and BM projects using his own tools. When he is ready to fly out of the nest, he'll have some basic tools and skills.

Expose him to the many "behind the scene jobs" all around us. Music recording requires much more that a musician and a microphone. There are more than "doctors and nurses" in a hospital. Show him the back side of a grocery store or department store and help him realize stuff just doesn't suddenly appear on those shelves. Take him to a slaughter house, an electric generation plant, a farm,,,, help him understand the huge variety of occupations and responsibilities PEOPLE do everyday to make his life more comfortable.

If you have the opportunity, take him to work with you and expose him to what you go through day in and day out for him in particular and for the household in general. Along with that, maybe an exposure to money management and the cost of maintaining a home, vehicles, communications, etc.

These and so many other things are assumed to be taught to our children. Yet it seems these basic understandings of the world around them are not appreciated in our culture. Sometimes the most basic things fall through the cracks of the learning process.

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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by wedeliver » Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:25 pm

To the OP, you are putting a lot of effort into directing your childs future. The more time you spend as opposed to money you spend seems to work better. Also I really do applaud your plans and efforts, but there should be some cautions also. Your ideas, your plans, spanish, the peace corp all sound great but does your child think these are his desires and plans or yours? If you have all this working and your son seems invested in the plan, include the musical instrument also a must practice, lessons paid for, travel expenses covered to also become more proficient at that skill. From his list of "things to do" help him with that also as part of your master plan. I hope what I am trying to say is coming through because your work is beautiful and naturally you want to be successful. I wish you the best and I hope to hear how things go. My experience in this, I have 4 children, 3 of who have produced offspring so I have 5 grandchildren. I don't think I did a particular good job in preparing them for life, but they are happy I think and they are doing ok, I guess. Natually I had hoped they would have better work at this time, but they are managing through these tough times and one daughter has started a great business.

Edited to add, that i missed the above reply that cautioned you about the Peace Corp. Sure there are dangers, but the job is not dangerous. (does that make sense, heck you can get knifed in Los Angeles) the Peace Corp is better then the military in my opinion, in a general way. Bottom line is, what does your son want? What will interest him? what will turn him on and get him out of bed in the morning excited about the day and the adventure ahead.
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Re: Opinions wanted.

Post by Lassen Forge » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:26 am

What intriuged me was that HD's kid was behind the plan 100%... sometimes it takes a gentle kick in the ass to help one decide what they want to do with ones life. That you (HD) had thought out a workable plan, and when you presented it to him he liked it as well - knowing what a life changing experience it will likely be - says a lot about your skills as a dad!

Working or being in a foreign country is fraught with hazards, it doesn't matter whether it's Belize or Brazil or Britain. Part of the learning experience is how to land on your feet and think on your feet and stay ahead of the curve, playing not by our rules but theirs. Sometimes it's not easy, but hell, whoever said life was easy. The upside is you get a foot in a foreign culture, your hirability goes up, because someone wants that knowledge. I think of my stepson who has a deep personal knowledge of the Japanese culture, which seems to put him a leg up on the hiring gene pool.

My only caevat is that college is ALWAYS a good thing, but usually one doesn't realize that until later - it is also one of the ultimate resume builder, and I suspect that your kid, after being in the PC, will either start a degree program there or when he gets back. But having to suss things out, he will find a direction, and hopefully will grow from whatever he faces. And whatever happens, he will learn the same thing as had he joined the Military - independence. Is a good thing.

I applaud you, Komrade, for the way you are turning this liability into an asset. One your kid will prosper from. It's like the burn - if you're following your hearrt, and what you believe to e true, then you are doing the right thing!!

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