Posts Tagged ‘young people’


In the last 100 years, 16,307,243 men have been inducted (drafted) into the military: WWI – 2.8 mil., WWII – 10.1 mil., Korea – 1.5 mil., and Vietnam – 1.9 mil.  In 1970 the Selective Service System went to a lottery system based on your birthday.  In that year, the first 195 birthdays were drafted; my birthday was #82.  It didn’t matter to me since I was already in the U.S. Marine Corps.  The last man drafted entered the Army on June 30, 1972.

No one that I knew wanted to be drafted, but off they went to serve their country.  As the years passed, I’ve bumped into very few individuals that served in the military, including those drafted, that didn’t consider it a life learning experience.  We learned responsibility, commitment, loyalty, discipline and the experience of “serving” our country.  We learned how to work with individuals with vastly different backgrounds and perspectives.  And, we experienced some things that we would like to forget.  Most of us can still talk about it as if were yesterday.

Let me put this into perspective.  Today we have 1.4 million individuals serving in the military protecting 323 million of us; or 0.4 percent of our population.  So very few individuals will acquire that “serving your country” experience.

I realize that everyone can’t serve in the military.  In a ‘We Are the Mighty’ article in 2015, it was reported that there were 34 million individuals between the ages of 17 – 34.  Of that group 71% wouldn’t qualify for military service due to physical, behavioral and emotional issues.  Of the qualified group, only 1% had an interest to serve in the military.  We, as a country, have become disconnected from the idea of serving our country.

Here is my thought-provoking proposal.  Every young person, starting at age 18 must serve their country in one of the following services.

  • Military (two years active, or 6 years reserve)
  • Conservation Service (National Parks, recreation, energy programs, etc.)
  • Medical Service (Veterans hospitals, health service, etc.)
  • Peace Corps (as is)
  • Educational Service (Programs for supporting primarily at risk schools, preschool programs, maintenance, etc.).

There would be two commitment choices for non-military service; a two-year full-time commitment, or a four-year commitment of two active weeks each year and two days a month.  Pay grades and ‘service’ benefits would be like those for military personnel.  How about earning funds for college, college credit, help with buying a house and medical benefits?

While the service requirement starts at 18, full-time student deferments (college, trade schools, etc.) would make sense for filling certain positions; however, the deferment would have a set period.  Also, the non-military service options would provide a great opportunity for those individuals with some physical limitations that could not serve in the military.

The future of our country will be determined by how well we prepare our young people.  However, too many of them today are struggling to find a path forward or a purpose; or in street terms, a way out.  I believe this would provide a valuable building-block for growth, and it would greatly benefit our country.




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Several years ago I posted The Second and Third Order Consequences! discussing some of the critical things that must be considered in decision-making. The posting has attracted thousands of views from all over the world.

The focus of the posting was from a business perspective; however, a great deal of the interest has been from a personal perspective. So for a number of months I have been exploring this concept in discussions with individuals and have found an incredible interest in this perspective with younger individuals, e.g. the millennials. Millennials are the largest generational group in the U.S. since the Baby-boomers and are going to have a huge impact on society. So let’s revisit this from two of the attributes most often brought up about this generation.

Social Networks.

Unlike any generation before them, millennials are “tied” to social networks that are ubiquitous. Decision-making in this environment can have instant and lasting consequences at multiple levels. Once a decision has become part of this network it is not easily retrievable. It has legs and will run for a long time. Fun-stuff postings (pictures, comments, videos, etc.) in a social setting can become areas of concern in future potential relationships, e.g., employers.

On the other hand, postings that promote strong personal attributes, accomplishments, community service and competencies can have a very positive impact on future relationships.

Second and Third Order Consequences of Social Networks. – At this time, older generations that are responsible for hiring, or certain industries, might see fun-stuff postings differently. – What is funny is that the older generations did a lot of the same things but didn’t capture them in pictures. Positive postings will also catch their attention and just might get you that interview. Think carefully about your postings and how they can result in consequences beyond the initial post.


Like the generations before them, Millennials like to wear who they are on their sleeves. Tattoos and piercings are the new standards of look-at-me. Like social network decisions mentioned above, body art can run for a long time. I met a wonderful and extremely smart young lady that had to wear long sleeves to hide her tats from her employer. This may not be right, but it was a reality. I asked her if she could do it all over again would she get that many tattoos. Her answer, no.

Second and Third Order Consequences of Self-Expression. – Older generations that are responsible for hiring, or certain industries, might see body art differently. This especially comes up when the employee has to interact with an older customer base. As time passes, millennials will be the hiring agents and be looking to attract like-minded individuals. However for now, consider other possible reactions to your decisions about self-expression to see if there might be unintended consequences down the road.

There are always second and third order consequences to decision-making that must be considered before an important decision is made. The problem is that the point of reference for the initial decision is often the here-and-now. If you hesitate and think beyond the initial impact of your decision, you will make better decisions and have more positive results.

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