Below is an email exchange between me and a college student.
I get so many emails asking about these discipline bootcamps,
I thought I would share this email because I think it sums up
my overall feelings of the often-asked programs she is asking
Angela: Hello, my name is (name withheld) I am a college
student at Essex community college in Baltimore, Maryland. I
am an educational psychology major and was wondering what your
views were on sending children to boot camp. it seems as though
you have a deep passion for the marine corps and I have much
admiration to you for that. however, I am not sure if I agree
with children being sent to boot camp as a way of discipline.
could you please write me back and let me know how you feel
about this subject. also, here are a few questions I have:
Lt Grose: I would first ask your definition of “children.”
I mean if you are talking very small children, obviously not.
But teenagers are the very ones who go to bootcamp. So I would
assume you would mean 13-16 year-olds.
Overall, I would say yes. I think that by that age, patterns
have been set and the parents have somehow failed to instill
the discipline that a child needs to grow up as a functioning
member of our society. Most that I have seen that fall in that
category have a view that they are untouchable and there are
no repercussions for their wayward behavior. They have a low
self esteem and act out to get the attention they crave, whether
positive or negative.
Angela: What are the benefits of boot camp?
Lt Grose: Boot camp is really a three step process. First,
the recruits are stripped of their individuality (shaved hair,
same clothes, same treatment). This might sound pretty “1984”
but stay with me. The reason is so that no matter if you were
all star quarterback, Mr. Big Man on Campus, or the school loser,
you are on the same level playing field despite your past, parental
connections, etc. I think Full Metal Jacket put it best
when he said “Here, you are all equally worthless!!” That way,
you are judged only on your performance and nothing else.
Lt Grose: Second, is the breaking down period. It is pretty
hard to break through 18 years of history, attitude, and negative
beliefs. The goal is to tear though the crap society has heaped
on you and bring everyone to the same level so that everyone
has the same goals: to accomplish the mission and to be a team,
despite the differences which have now been minimized.
Lt Grose: Third, and most important, is the building up
phase. Now that everyone is equal, they build them up and teach
them what they need to know. They mold them into a team and
give them all a group mentality of cooperation, invincibility,
honor, courage, and commitment. What bootcamp gives back is
a confident, focused, proud young man ready to succeed in the
Corps and in life. It is a process that lasts for the rest of
his life, no matter what he does from that point on.
Angela: If not boot camp, what other methods could there
be to discipline children?
Lt Grose: I think the entire process starts at home. It
is the parents’ responsibility to ensure their children are
readied for the world ahead. That includes discipline, love,
and encouragement. Programs like the one we are talking about
is a last ditch effort. It is the parents’ responsibility to
start when they are young because we, as parents, have only
about 16 years to accomplish the proper development of our children
that will dictate the rest of their lives. After that, it is
too late and then you are only doing damage control.
Angela: Would you send your unruly child to boot camp?
Lt Grose: If it got to that, I would do it in a heartbeat.
Angela: Why do you think that we as a country have to result
to boot camps to get the respect that parents deserve?
Lt Grose: Because we want a quick fix to a problem we have
neglected and were too lazy to work at in the long term while
they were growing up. I think our society encourages open questioning
of authority and does not enforce accountability for actions.
Angela: Do you think schools should be able to administer
more discipline to students?
Lt Grose: Yes but I also think that parents should be more
involved and therefore remove the need for more discipline.
Respectful behavior starts at home and carries over to school.
Angela: Who is to blame for unruly children?
Lt Grose: Kids are kids. Genetically, they are no different
than those born 100 years ago. They are born with the same chances
and abilities as the children of any age. It is the environment
that molds, for better or worse, their attitudes and actions.
Of course there are some exceptions but the majority of unruly
kids can be traced to their parenting or lack thereof.
Angela: Thank you,
Angela: PS. I love your web site :) Semper Fi!