What does it take for a mother to have her son or daughter pick up a role in the military?

I never thought about it until I was asked to write this article and share my thoughts on the same.
My son taking up a role in the military was not a surprise. I always knew that he would, even before he was born.
Army always fascinated me, and I always wanted to get married to someone who was in the army. Perhaps, this was because I was born in the city of Pune, which has one of the biggest military cantonments and many institutions of military training. Or because of having distinct childhood memories of 1971 Indo-Pak war blackouts, sirens and fighter aircrafts flying over the dark skies. Also, this was maybe because of my father who would take me and my brother to every ‘defense-expo’, Dare Devil bike demos and army dog shows that would happen in the city and to classic war movies.
Also, I know of the 1971 war made a huge impact on my husband who was then in secondary school at Kochi naval base and had seen his best friend’s father achieving supreme sacrifice for the nation. My parents in law wanted my husband to be a doctor like them, but instead he decided to run away to join the National Defence Academy and fulfilled his dream of becoming an army officer.

During the Kargil war of late 1990s, we were posted in Srinagar. Our son as a young boy of eight years then had closely witnessed helicopters carrying wounded soldiers to the base hospital, heard the first-hand stories of valour and victory and felt proud seeing his father and other personnel in uniform working fanatically at that time of a national emergency. I always wonder, if it was possible for him to dream about anything different than wearing an olive-green uniform once he grew up?
My son always had it in him. I remember even as a toddler the way he used to get excited with the sound of a bugle and used to be thrilled to watch the retreat at a jungle post in Manipur. As a young boy he always played with guns, toy aero-planes, jeeps and helicopters. He dug trenches, threw mud grenades, made his friends march, made attack strategies and played red army v/s blue army.
In class 12th he prepared for the UPSC exam all by himself. Without any coaching he cleared the NDA entrance and SSB in the very first attempt. He has been always good at studies and extracurricular activities. Along with UPSC he cleared all the engineering entrance exams with flying colours. He could have easily got admission in best of the engineering colleges and there on in best of the management schools, but he never gave even a single thought to evaluate those career options over joining the National Defence Academy. After completing his training at NDA and then from the prestigious Indian Military Academy he decided to get commissioned in the same regiment as of his father’s.

I am so happy he did that.
Unlike corporate, in the military they don’t need to go for deliberate employee engagement activities as the workforce is so dedicated and highly committed to the cause. They don’t have to hold family days as your family is always an integral part of the big extended family. They don’t need to go for team building outbound activity as in military you know your buddy can die for you. There are no trips to adventure resorts for the sake of Facebook posts, wherein each and every day is full of nothing but thrill & adventure. One doesn’t get to visit pubs over the weekends but a mess party over the piping of your fellow officer gets you all the fun & celebration. There is no talent management, L&D initiatives but a commando course in jungle survival does the job. There is no need to hold big five-star annual conferences for sharing the company vision & mission, as the military personnel is instantly connected to the bigger picture from his day one in uniform. There are no air-conditioned boardroom meetings but a tank ride in desert in the peak of summers can give you a greater feeling of accomplishment. Here you don’t have to chase the targets but you get to shoot them down.

Military is not a career it is the way of life, a legacy!
It is an avenue to have the best of everything, rewarding career, camaraderie, developmental opportunities, global exposure, trust, compassion, fulfillment, sense of achievement, leadership, decision making, strategy, empowerment, respect and most importantly the ‘quality of life’.
So, what does it take for a mother to have her son or daughter pick up a role in the Military? Well I would say Gratefulness, Bliss and immense Pride!!

Watch this interesting video by Red FM when my son decided to surprise me!
Meet the author:

Founder Director – Skillster Employability Solutions LLP.
Please note: The views, opinions and beliefs expressed by the authors in the articles on the blog are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Lean In India.

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