My condolences go out to the thirty families who have lost their sons and daughters in Afghanistan last week. My heart goes out to the many parents who have a child in the military. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have your child decide to go into the military. I can only relate by the stories I hear from other parents saying what it was like when their child first told them they were enlisting. And honestly what can a parent say when their child tells them that?
I’m all for a child growing up and doing what they desire to do the most, but when it comes to their life being in danger I rather they stay home and be a lifelong student. When you think about it a policeman, fireman and the military all have their level of danger, but all of these units are necessary for every nation. With such an important role, how can a parent truly tell their child no? I can hear myself now telling my son to pick another profession. Pick something else, a doctor, a lawyer, anything but put yourself in danger. But then you have a child who is passionate about what he/she wants to do with their life. They researched all the possibilities and all their options and here they are talking to a recruiter. What can a parent do? Nothing. Unless you want to kidnap your own child and lock them in your basement that is probably the only way you can keep them away from the inevitable.
Maybe your child really is the hero type. The type of person who was born to serve and protect others no matter how dangerous it may be. What if that really is their purpose in life? If it is, who are we to stop them from the very thing they were born to do? Sure we could influence them to do something else. We could sell them the idea of starting their own business or becoming a teacher, but as soon as they reach 40 that feeling of incompleteness would start to creep in. Those who have not done exactly what they wanted to do with their life know what that feeling is like. So, sure we can stop them from going the hero route for the meanwhile, but if it’s really something that they want to do they are going to do it anyway.
Once they reach adulthood, we can pray for them and hope that nothing bad happens. It is no longer our sole responsibility to protect them from their decisions. I can only imagine the parents who are dealing with the death of their child. Going through the grieving process and coping with the fact that their child is gone. There is nothing else that a parent can do. You can’t blame yourself. Maybe you could have talked to them more or maybe you could have talked to them about going into another branch, but ultimately the initial choice of going into the military is up to your child. And as honorable as entering into the military is, it can come with a huge price.
Again my condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones due to serving in Afghanistan.