The Military May Be a Good Career for Gifted Children

The military provides structure and discipline

military recruiter and student
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Deciding whether the military is a good career for gifted children is ultimately a decision the child will have to make. However, this list of pros and cons about military careers can provide guidance to families seeking more information about professions in the armed forces. Discover whether your child has the abilities and interests to pursue a military career. 

Why a Military Career Is Ideal

The military provides a structured environment, including discipline and guidance for those who are disorganized or are easily sidetracked.

Service members don't need to worry about what to do and when. Procrastination and lack of motivation can often lead to underachievement in gifted children, but these aren't options in the military. Members of the military have a job to do and they are required to do it.

Additionally, the military can appeal to the sense of honor, duty and service to others that many gifted kids have. Principles of freedom and liberty tend to be important to such children, as is pride in their country.

Military Training

The military provides training for more than 100 different jobs that have civilian counterparts. This training makes it possible for service members to pursue post-military careers when duty ends. These careers include those in law and law enforcement, computers and technology, medicine, construction (including electricians), mechanics, transportation and intelligence. The military also offers arts-oriented careers, such as those involving bands and choirs.


Educational Benefits

The military will pay for the post-secondary education of service members. This is in addition to the job training enlistees get as members of the military. Those in the National Guard or the Reserves can attend college, paid for by the military, during their term of service, since they are generally required to spend just one weekend per month and two weeks per summer to meet their military obligations.

Pensions, Traditions and Family

The military offers excellent benefits and pensions for people who choose to make the military a long-term career. Basic training can build self-confidence and help a young man or woman become more independent and resilient. It can also help them learn self-discipline and the essentials of teamwork.

The military has a long history of traditions. The National Guard, for instance, dates back to 1636, when the first unit was created by the Massachusetts Bay Colony as the Massachusetts Bay Colonial Militia. The blue dress uniform of the Army is another example. The color was determined by George Washington as a contrast to the British "Redcoat" uniform.

The military allows its members to build strong relationships with fellow enlistees and their families. Service members and their loved ones receive a great deal of support from others in the military, which can provide the feeling of having one very large family.

Disadvantages of Military Careers

Enlisting in the military is not like being hired for a civilian job.

Service members can't quit any time they want to, as an employee can in the civilian sector. They need to wait until their enlistment period is up, or they could suffer serious consequences that can affect not just their military but also their civilian life.

The military decides where soldiers go and for how long they go there. This means that someone in the military may need to relocate fairly often, whether they want to or not and to places where they may or may not want to go. For those with families, the moves can be even more stressful, as it means the kids need to leave friends, change schools and make new friends.

The military has regulations on dress and hairstyles. For more free-spirited individuals who relish being different, this can be difficult. While there is some leeway on hair and clothing styles when service members are off duty, there is virtually none when on duty. For instance, women with long hair must wear it tied back when on duty, but can wear it down when off duty. Men can't have long hair at all, so their options are more limited.

The Difficulties of Basic Training

Basic training can be very difficult for some to adjust to. There is little contact with friends and family, there is almost no freedom and virtually no privacy. On top of that, the physical, mental and emotional demands placed on new recruits can be quite stressful (although successful completion of basic training contributes to a sense of pride and accomplishment).

Service members may be placed in literal life and death situations. They are well trained for combat and can find themselves in combat situations where they may need to kill an enemy. They may be killed or see friends die or be injured. No one should consider joining the military in any capacity without seriously considering the possibility of death.

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