Marine Instills Discipline into Boys' Lives

By Rachel Martin

October 9, 2011 Updated Oct 9, 2011 at 5:21 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – In light of the 10th Anniversary of the War on Terror, Indiana’s NewsCenter talked to a local Marine who shared his combat experiences with boys at Lincoln Elementary School.

On Friday, Gunnery Sergeant Joshua Shaffer visited the Book Club for Boyz (BC4Boyz) at Lincoln Elementary School. BC4Boyz is a program where 100 boys give up their recess and talk about books with Principal Michael Shaffer. Gunnery Sgt. Joshua Shaffer is Principal Shaffer’s son, and served three years in Iraq.

During his talk, Gunnery Sgt. Shaffer expressed the importance of staying in school and getting a good education.

“At their age I definitely didn’t understand that fully, and I don’t know if anyone really does, but I know it’s just really important to stay in [school],” Sgt. Shaffer said.

He also talked about his experiences in Iraq as well as what it was like to be in the Marine Corps.

“A lot of these guys may consider the Marine Corps or military as an option one day and I wanted to introduce that to them,” Sgt. Shaffer said. “I was a recruiter for three years, and I found that a lot of the kids I did enlist were ones that were thinking about it since the age of these young men right here.”

Before enlisting in the Marines, Shaffer said he was just walking around with long hair and piercings, not getting along with his parents. “My dad can attest to that,” chuckled Sgt. Shaffer. He said his life lacked discipline, and he felt he wasn’t doing much. He said the events of 9/11 are what encouraged him to join the military.

“I kind of felt that when that happened, September 11th, I felt that that was something I needed to do for myself because I felt I needed to contribute. Just being a college student and going to class everyday I didn’t feel like I was contributing enough,” Sgt. Shaffer said.

The part of the talk that conjured the most excitement was when Shaffer had some volunteers do push-ups—Marine style. The boys counted aloud and yelled “Marine Corps” with every push. It was Sgt. Shaffer’s way of instilling some discipline into the boys’ lives.

“Discipline is something that applies to any part of life so really with these guys they need discipline,” Sgt. Shaffer said. “The biggest thing to stress to them is ‘hey look, do what you’re told and things will go well for you. If you don’t and stray away from that you’ll have a bit of a rougher time.’”

Sgt. Shaffer said push-ups are the best way to build character.

“It’s something that works and is proven in the Marines, so I think it’s something that’s useful for them as well,” Sgt. Shaffer said.

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