My Baby Reached Her Goal: JROTC Battalion Commander!

Apr 24, 2003

The Bottom Line My daughter has taught me a great deal about perseverance and sticking to a goal -- no matter how long it takes!

When you're a girly-girl, like I've been every second of my life, and you give birth to a daughter, you start thinking about dresses, Barbies, flowers and lace patterns.

And while my daughter has always been delicate and feminine looking, she gravitated toward "boy" toys -- especially weapons. Her dainty side emerged in caring for her stuffed animals and later her parakeets.

So it really wasn't a big surprise to me when she decided she wanted to take taekwondo at age 7 instead of continuing with the more "girly" gymnastics. And it certainly wasn't a surprise when she decided at the 9th grade level to choose one of three required classes -- music, gym or JR ROTC -- that she chose the latter.

My Baby -- A Natural Born LEADER???

More than two years ago when my daughter was at the start of her sophomore year in high school, I wrote a review about her seeking another JR ROTC she badly wanted, and didn't get:

Some of you wrote comments about how she should stick with the goal, and she would prevail. Well, you were all correct! She never considered quitting because she didn't get the position she sought.

But the same instructor who didn't give her that job also nominated her to attend a leadership conference in Washington, D.C. last fall. This year, another instructor has nominated her for the national Legion of Valor honor. She has earned Superior Cadet of the Year at both a Let I and a Let II, and may receive another as Let III in a couple of weeks.

Don't Credit Me -- I'm Just the Driver

When my daughter first choice to participate in JR ROTC, it was because freshmen high school students had to choose either gym, a music class or JR ROTC. She decided the latter had a lot more interest to offer in terms of map reading, leadership skills and academic advantages.

And since she's always been competitive and loves earning certificates and awards, the chance JR ROTC offers every student to get recognition based on accomplishment appealed to her.

She always sought positions that required her to keep records, communicate with other cadets, be at all drill meets and training activities -- and lots of driving from place to place and getting to school early. I've done the vast majority of that driving, often without really knowing the reason why, or exactly what she was doing except that it was related to JR ROTC.

She Got The News TODAY

My daughter has worked so hard now for so many months that she felt fairly confident of being named the battalion commander, a position available only to seniors. She will be the highest ranking officer in the school next year.

A young man she's grown fond of through the years is second in command, and third in command is another girl that my daughter used to fight with in the past -- they get along like gangbusters now. All of the top three got the jobs they really wanted, and that they felt were best suited to their skills.

By the time a student reaches the last year of JR ROTC, they may not even want the top job, because other positions offer them more opportunities to do the work they most enjoy.

In past years, the Battalion commander position has gone to students who have been very active in JR ROTC, but who also have the highest academic achievement. By the senior year, however, those students were busy with other activities and had lost interest in the leadership position they had coveted.

My daughter's academic skills are outstanding, and I know that her senior year will be demanding, but she loves JR ROTC so much that it's not likely that she'll let any of her new duties slide.

Right at this very moment, she's telling her dad how proud she felt when her instructor said "The commander and her staff have been chosen..." She's beaming with pride as I type away here.

Another Important Goal Reached This Year

Right after her 16th birthday last fall, my daughter reached another important goal that took FIVE years. She earned her black belt in karate!

Because she was working so hard on school assignments, the process of earning that belt was long and tedious. But she stuck with it. Now she helps as an instructor two to three nights a week, depending upon how much homework she has.

And let me repeat, even though I'm an incredibly proud mother, my daughter gets none of these abilities from me! I'm not academic unless I'm interested in the subject, I've never worked for five years on any single goal in my life (except for raising her), and I'm not the least bit athletic.

But I have supported every reasonable choice she has ever made in pursuing any goal that interests her, even if I don't relate to that goal. That's all that we can do as parents, isn't it?

Maybe you've seen those entertaining bumper stickers that say "My Kid Can Kick Your Honor Student's Butt." Well, I'm looking to see if there's one that says "My Kid is an Honor Student and She Can Kick Butt, Too!"

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Member: Ms Hooterville
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