Gratitude for Veterans

Most people don't know this, but a significant portion of the work we do with The YouSchool serves veterans, especially veterans going through a career transition. They have profoundly shaped our work with teenagers- since so many of them enlisted as teenagers, and had their lives structured by the military, they've helped us get clear about the most important questions and building blocks a kid needs to have in order to transition to live a meaningful life. 

What if we taught kids in school to honor veterans, to reflect on and learn from their service and sacrifice? 

We want to thank the veterans we've had the good fortune to serve, and specifically highlight the organizations we partner with:

The Honor Foundation
Team Rubicon USA
With Your Shield at USC's Marshall School of Business
The Navy SEAL Foundation
One More Wave

Also, here's an article we wrote a while back about Veteran Transition:


“I live for the times that I get to serve and give back. I live for it. But the rest of my life is spent in a miserable, crappy job.”

Listening to those words by a former Marine crystallized a notion that had been developing in us through the work we’ve been doing with special operators at The Honor Foundation. Even the veterans that transition well from a specific standpoint: they’re employed, they’re mentally and physically well, and they reenter civilian life quickly without a drain on resources; are still far from the potential they could live into.

What is needed is a bigger and bolder vision of what success looks like for a veteran.

(Caveat: we are not veterans. We have not served in the military. We have tremendous respect for the service, sacrifice, as well as challenges to transition. But we have been listening, and learning, and coming alongside over two hundred veterans transitioning in the past several years with THF and Team Rubicon.)

While serving in the military, key questions that are core to human existence are answered for you and supported with tremendous clarity. Those questions are:

  • Who am I supposed to become? Be like that solider, sailor, or officer.
  • What is my mission? Check.
  • How do I contribute? You have a specific, unique role that supports the mission.
  • Who are my people, who do I belong to? Just look around.

When you have those questions answered for you, it helps you organize your entire life- relationships, time, energy, focus, and spirit. When those questions are answered for you, though, they artificially support your human development and can delay your ability to get to personal clarity.

When you separate and leave the military, those answers disintegrate out from under you. The questions are still there and must be answered, but there are no longer answers that are clear. Queue: confusion, stress, anxiety, fear, disorientation, discouragement, poor decision-making, and possibly worse.

But when you have your own answers to those questions life makes sense. Career, finances, family, friendships, service, faith, health- life gets organized, meaning and purpose become effortless, and you feel like you’re in the flow of the way life is supposed to be.

Veterans need a process and a guide to help them discover and define their own answers to those big questions.

They need it, and they deserve it.

Finally, we want to highlight a few of our previous podcast conversations with veterans (and giants in the YouSchool world). If you have a few minutes, please take a listen, and check out the organizations they represent: 



Do you know?

For years we’ve been studying what a young person needs in order to transition into a healthy, thriving adulthood.  

They're uncommon sense ideas, really.

Download this checklist and use it with your students (or kids).

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