Posts Tagged "advice for parents of college kids"

The Speaker Can Make All The Difference

Dear Kid,

I had the great joy of eavesdropping on a conversation today. It was in a public place and while there were open tables for miles around the conversatees chose to sit directly behind me. So I felt totally justified in listening.

One person was a teenage boy, probably a junior in high school. The other was a retired school teacher who I see frequently at the gym. She now tutors students especially for improvement in their SAT and ACT scores. She’s a strict sort, not one to put up with nonsense, excuses, or mumbling. Probably one of those teachers who made her students do a ton of work and they loved her for it.

What struck me was how different people in our lives can speak to us in the same way but with totally different results. (This is not news, but it is worth repeating.)

Any fool can know. The point is to understand. Albert Einstein DearKidLoveMom.comTeacher: Did you read the parts I told you to?
Student: Yes, but I had a little trouble with one
Teacher: Let’s look at it. (They talk.) How do you know x?
Student mumbles
Teacher: No, don’t tell me, show me. Where did you find that in this passage? Here? No. You have to look further.

An alternate scenario:

Mom: Darling, you mentioned you didn’t understand x. Do you need help with your homework?
Kid (rolls eyes): I can do my homework, Mother. Leave me alone.
Mom: Well, I’m here if you want to review anything
Kid: I SAID I’m FINE and I DON’T NEED HELP!! (storms off to text 4,000 people about the injustices in the world)

Thank heavens parents aren’t the only people in the world who care.

Love, Mom

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March 13th | Dogs in the Military (K-9 Corp History)

Dear Kid,

On March 13, 1942, the Quartermaster Corps (QMC) of the United States Army began training dogs for the newly established War Dog Program, the “K-9 Corps.”

This is their story. (You have to read that in a deep voice.)

Military K9 history DearKidLoveMom.comOnce upon a time, there were dogs in the military. This has been true since the first military (wherever that was) because dogs are loyal, trainable, and darn cute–except when they are threatening to rip someone’s throat out.

The military of the US of A was no different. In the beginning, military dogs were mascots and companions. Eventually, they became tired of being showgirls and unionized, saying they could do real work. In World War I, the army listened and dogs began carrying messages along the trenches.

The most famous dog to emerge from the war was Rin Tin Tin, an abandoned puppy of German war dogs found in France in 1918 and taken to the United States, where he became a movie star. Rin Tin Tin did nothing to help the Beauty Queen image of dogs and the military went back to he-man work and guns.

Fast forward to WWII. The American Kennel Association and Dogs for Defense convinced dog owners to donate Rover to the military for things like sentry duty along the coast of the US. A Bright Young Lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corp suggested using the dogs for sentry duty at supply depot. Since this was a good idea, it was almost rejected. But training for the K-9 Corp began and a few months later the QMC was given responsibility for training pups for all the branches of the military. (These days the Military Police Corps trains military dogs.)

When the program started, the K-9 program accepted 32 breeds of dogs (Booker doggies were not included). It didn’t take long to figure out that some breeds of pooch were more suited to this type of work than others and the list of acceptable breeds was cut to German Shepherds, Belgian sheep dogs, Doberman Pinschers, collies, Siberian Huskies, Malamutes, and Eskimo dogs. (Dogs with high V02 capacities and a serious work ethic.) The military also discovered they needed to train the handlers as much as the dogs (Note: It’s almost always the dog when good things happen. It’s almost always the human when not-so-good things happen. From the Belief of Mom.)

The dogs were trained to work as sentry dogs, scout dogs, messenger dogs, or mine-detection dogs. The Japanese never ambushed or made a surprise attack on a patrol led by one of the war dogs. In war, it’s good to hang with someone who’s hearing, sight, and sense of smell is about a zillion times better than yours.

The top canine hero of World War II was Chips, a German Shepherd who served with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. Trained as a sentry dog, Chips broke away from his handlers and attacked an enemy machine gun nest in Italy, forcing the entire crew to surrender. The wounded Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and the Purple Heart–all of which were later revoked due to an Army policy preventing official commendation of animals. Which was a stupid policy, imho.

At the height of canine usage, there were over 18,000 dogs working in the military. Today there are less than 600 dog teams.

There is an effort underway to make March 13th K9 Veterans’ Day nationwide.


Love, Mom

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