What Young People Want and Need
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"Most children are raised by amateurs, not professionals."
- Bryce's Law
I've been watching with great interest the ten part series on PBS entitled,
which provides a rare glimpse into life aboard an American aircraft carrier, the
USS Nimitz. There are approximately 5,000 people aboard this floating four acres
of military weaponry, and although the ship and technology are interesting, it
is the ship's crew who are the real stars of the show.
Crewmen, both male and female, from all levels of the ship's
military hierarchy were profiled. Many were interviewed as to what their
background was and why they joined the Navy. To me personally, I found the
interviews with the younger members of the crew (ages 18-22) to be particularly
enlightening. Many came from middle class broken homes where the other members
of the family were socially dysfunctional, suffering from alcoholism and drug
addiction, and consequently becoming pimps, prostitutes, thieves, and wife/child
beaters. Time and again, crewmen spoke of how the Navy gave them structure and
purpose in life. They found such things as discipline, organization, and
accountability, to be some very powerful and beneficial concepts. They also
thrived in an environment of teamwork where it was necessary to put aside
differences and work towards the common good. As a result, they felt less like
aloof individuals and more like a real family with a sense of belonging. They
would frequently use the expression, "Work hard - play hard," representing their
philosophy to teamwork. With this foundation in place, the crewmen found
confidence in themselves, assumed responsibility for their actions, and
confidently responded to challenges. Instead of drifting through life aimlessly,
the Navy gave them the ability to chart a course in their personal lives,
something their parents failed to instill in them. In other words, the military
forced them to grow up by teaching them the meaning of adulthood.
Some time ago I discussed the need in business for
"Parenting Management," that due to a decline in parenting skills at home,
teachers, coaches, and managers were being forced to play surrogate mothers and
fathers. We may not like it, but unfortunately it has become a fact of life as
many misfit parents have abdicated their responsibilities. Not surprising, I
find "Carrier" as an endorsement of my thesis that we have to do much
more in the business world to help young people grow up and take their proper
place in society. Since their biological parents have dropped the ball, it now
defaults to the manager.
In a nutshell, the lessons from "Carrier" are simple;
with rare exception, young people both want and need direction, organization,
discipline, and accountability. Although they would never admit such going into
the Navy, these simple parental skills are what the young crewmen actually
respond positively to.
In the final chapter of the show, the producers interviewed a
young crewman who told a story of going back and visiting his recruiter
following Boot Camp. "What did you get me into?" he asked the recruiter
who, in turn, raised his hand and said "Where would you be right now if you
weren't in the Navy?" The crewman blurted out he would be hanging out with
his friends getting high ("Did I just say that?" he said). He glanced
back into the eyes of the recruiter who simply said, "You see?" And, of
course, the crewman did.
Maybe there is something to the concept of having all young
people serve in the military for a few years following high school.
If you would like to discuss this with me in more depth,
please do not hesitate to send me an
Keep the faith.
About the Author
Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant with
M. Bryce & Associates
of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He is
available for lecturing, training and consulting on an international basis. He
can be reached at
Comments and questions are welcome.
His writings can be found at:
The "Management Visions" Internet audio broadcast is available at:
Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-05-16 21:03:51 in Employee Articles