To the disrespectful teacher in California

Dear sir,

Congratulations on your recent internet fame that you’ve inherited! I am one of the many members of the United States Armed Forces that you classified as a “dumb shit”. I’d like to share with you my life experiences, and why I decided to join the military a year after high school.

In high school, I was a part of the Junior Reserved Officer Training Corps (JROTC), probably the type of students that you favor in belittling in your classroom. At first, I didn’t want to join JROTC, but my mother convinced me to join anyway. Our compromise was that I would only have to do it for one semester, and I could choose to leave if this wasn’t for me. Turns out, I found my place in the world and decided to remain in JROTC for the rest of my high school career. I was so focused and dedicated to this class or club, that I ended up becoming the cadet commander of my unit. All of the valuable lessons I’ve learned, that I still reflect on to this day, were learned in this class as a leader… Can you believe, that me, a 16-something year old was commanding a unit of over 100+? Fascinating, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, I didn’t go to college right after high school despite taking classes that could’ve transferred over as college credits. Instead, as I’ve already mentioned, I joined the United States Air Force a year after graduating. To be honest with you, joining the Air Force, to me, is not a bad gig at all. Since I did 4-years of JROTC, I was already promoted to E-3 since joining the military (usually, people can receive this rank after graduating basic training/boot camp if they enlisted for 6-years), and because I was given the Congressman Herbert Advanced placement award, or CHAPA letter, I was able to chose up to 5 jobs in the military that I wanted to do. 10+ years later, I am still a medic and have not regretted my decision.

The military also treats me very well for serving them. I receive a steady paycheck, minus the occasional government shut-downs; however, there are many resources that are available to me that can help me out in times of need. I enjoy free education in the career field of my choosing. I’m sure technical training or trade school is probably not up to your standards, but if times get tough and there is an event where I have to leave the military, I still have my certifications to land me a decent job out on the economy. Also, I receive $4,500 per fiscal year for tuition assistance on top of the Post 9/11 GI Bill that I paid into. My family also benefits from me being in the military, in that their health insurance is free. They don’t have to worry about not being able to go to the doctors because coverage is too expensive. They also have a great community support system for those times that I have to leave for deployments or other necessary mission tasking.

Anyway, enough about me, let me also talk about some of the great officers I’ve met and have served under. I think you referred them as “not high level thinkers”. When I was deployed, my flight surgeon only had 6-months under his belt before he deployed. Before then, he had his own Family Health Clinic, but gave it to his colleague so he can join the military and support our war-fighters. My last squadron commander first enlisted into the Air Force, but was later picked up for Physician’s Assistance school. My last flight commander was also prior enlisted in the Army, but separated from the service to pursue her Nursing degree. She returned as a Nurse Practitioner, and now she is on the east coast for her doctorates. In addition to these three officers who are very important to me, there are may other officers in the healthcare field that have written and published articles for the medical community, proven theories, and most importantly, saved countless lives. And to make my last statement bolder, they didn’t just save our brother and sisters in arms, they have also gone on humanitarian missions to third-world countries and saved lives out there, too.

Sir, I know that, in this day and age, being in the military and having a sense of pride in one’s country is a scarce thing to come by; however, it is us that gave you the right to exercise the First Amendment of our Constitution – Freedom of Speech. I’m not sure if you know this, but being in the military, you don’t get to exercise this right, and you expected to “obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me”. Of course, we have the authority to disobey orders that we deem to be immoral, thus enforcing us to become those “high level thinkers” you think we are not. Either way, you are welcome for that right and the fact that myself, my husband, and my brothers & sisters in arms fight for that right to remain in this place.

Before I end this open letter to you, I’d like to leave you a quote from Gen George S. Patton, a famous General from WWII. He is currently buried in a military cemetery in Luxembourg, maybe you ought to visit his tombstone to pay some sort of respect to those that paved the way for your freedom you enjoy to this day.

Better to fight for something than live for nothing.

//Signed//

A Staff Sergeant in the US Air Force

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Co-parenting is not competitive parenting

When I was going through my very bitter divorce, my ex-husband painted a picture of being the “perfect” parent for our son; therefore, the courts should agree with him that it would be in the best interest of our son to remain with him… This part, was at the beginning of our divorce, when we had to attend mediation for the sake of our son. When the situation got serious, as in, yes, we are having this divorce, it was like he just “vanished”. No response to the courts, and costing me a very pretty penny because I “lawyered” up just in case.

When our divorce was finalized, and he learned that I changed the parenting time schedule to him only having our kid every other weekend, he flipped out and called me every derogatory word associated for a woman. The “new” parenting time only lasted a couple months before he decided to leave the country… Yes, country. So, instead of having time with his son every other weekend, as planned, he decides to just leave. As what every “perfect” parent would do, I assume.

Now, let me put things into perspective – yes, he is overseas for his job, but he is not in the military. We agreed that he would call every Sunday to speak to our son, but he has gone weeks and months not even e-mailing me or trying to reach out to our son. Video-chatting and phone calls are not the only way that he could reach out to our son, because he also has our address, which means he could, at the very least, write to him.

Any way, compare this to my experience when I was deployed for six months, and faithfully reached out to him every week to speak to my child. Mind you, at the beginning, I actually spent every free moment I had, texting and calling my ex and my son, just to see how they were doing. That was short-lived because my ex insisted I called them only on the weekends to “save conversation and not make things boring”… Umm, okay? I did what my husband wanted, and even then, there were times that I’d call and my ex would say “Oh, he’s not here, he’s with so-and-so”. spent a couple weeks and months not being able to contact my son merely because my ex didn’t want me to. Of course, there are always two sides of the story: my son’s father may be very well busy where he’s at, much like how it was when I was deployed. However, the fact always remains that kids will surely remember who or what parent was always there, and which parent wasn’t.

Yeah, kids are pretty materialistic when they’re young, but when they become teenagers and emerge into adults, who’s going to be there for them when times get rough? You can’t just throw money at problems and expect them to go away… Although, I’m sure some people would disagree. Either way, kids need their parents and they don’t need toys or lavish things. They need memories and experiences. Most importantly, they need to know that someone’s out there, looking out whats best for them. Co-parenting is not about who’s the coolest parent, or which parent is Mr/Mrs. Money bags. In fact, throwing money at your kid to simply win their love, loyalty, and respect is the worst thing. It undermines the other parent’s effort in showing them actual love and affection. Co-parenting needs to be on the same level, where parents can just set aside their differences and anger of each other for the common good, which is their child(ren).

Sorry, for the long background story. This has been something that pops up in my mind very often. Are you in a co-parenting relationship? And if so, were you and your child’s mom/dad able to come away from competitive parenting?