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'Gentle' Boot Camp Tough Love

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Today, those whom society deems to be Difficult Youth-- those constantly causing problems at home, at school, and/or with the law--have often benefitted from stern but not abusive Marine Corp type methods. The first thing is to separate them from their environments and, if possible, to retrain those parents who have largely accounted for the problems--perhaps those mothers with obsessive or phobic disorders that need management to reduce their domination. Some parents give these youth too little of what is worthwhile (i.e. non-materials such as family outing time) and those youth rebel by "being about nothing."

"Smother love" parents, perhaps from lacks in growing up, overprotect and weaken youth into being over-dependent from receiving excessive pampering; from not knowing difficulties; from being given too much; and from having things so convenient as to be unable to tolerate frustration. These "spoiled" youth tend to be thoughtless of deserving others, starting with their own parents, and doubting their own adequacy and ability.

Others may be wallflowers, schoolyard bullies, kids addicted to the internet, the obese, and those who know no boundaries with parents or anyone else. Because of USA laws "the rod" must be spared but physical exercise discipline in Boot Camp can be effective for those 7 to 19, regardless of weather.

In one type recruits are stripped of the usual distractions -- TV, music, cars, candy -- and stopped from referring to themselves as “I” or “me.” Instead, each is instructed to look out for the group before looking out for oneself. For the first time in their lives they encounter Absolute Standards: "Keep your word; Tell the truth; do your best, no matter how trivial the task; choose the difficult “right” over the easy “wrong”; don’t whine or make excuses; judge others by their actions, not by their race, creed, or color.” Drill instructors hammer home: “Don’t pursue happiness; pursue excellence, make a habit of that, and you can have a fulfilling life.” Recruits learn that money is not nearly as important as ones character. There is no attempt to make them happy but rather to push them harder than they have even been pushed so as to make them go beyond their own self-imposed limits. The emphasis is on humor, courage, commitment , and “concentrating on doing a single task as simply as you can, execute it flawlessly, take care of your people, and go home.”

Disciple for those physically fragile, undisciplined, weakminded, hunched over their computers playing video games, laid back watching television, and talking trash to their overworked parents can also benefit from Boot Camp in order to become better students and more conscientious adults. In some military type camps-- similar to those used for youth with drug problems or those in trouble with the law--the youth slither along barbed-wire obstacle courses, jump from towers, run with tires dragging behind them, carry boats over their heads, and wallow in the mud. They are awakened before dawn to begin working all day to the command of drill instructors barking orders dawn to dusk. There are no cellphones, no computers, and no calls home. When the youth do not listen or do not answer loud enough or fool around then the drill instructor "gets in their face" and gives physical but non-abusive punishments (e.g. squat-thrusts). Drills are done before sitting down to eat--along with mantras and blessings for the food. The idea to is let them know they cannot simply do what they want and that life is not all about them. Parents must cooperate with the program. For kids who cannot take it, counseling is given related to the difficulties of life.

website: www.jablifeskills.com

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