Remembering sacrifices military families make
Hello Military Community,
April is Month of the Military Child and gives the nation the opportunity to recognize the character, strength and sacrifices of America’s military children, as well as the role they play in the armed forces community. Throughout the world, each location will have their own community events to bring together, highlight and thank military children.
While I try to express appreciation throughout the year, I like having the extra events that show appreciation the community has for our families. To me it expresses that we are not alone nor forgotten. Many in the civilian world do not understand the extra burden placed on military children – constant moving, changing of schools and friends and having a parent who is deployed. Being in a military family can, at times, be exceedingly stressful for our children.
Multiple moves and deployments make it hard for many kids to maintain a “normal” life, whatever that might entail. For most kids, normality comes when mom and dad are content, when they have friends to hang out with or play with and when they feel safe. Programs that help support the family by providing good local resources are a saving grace. Unfortunately they don’t exist in every town or country. Remember, most Guard and Reserve families are spread all over the States – not just near military bases and do not have the assistance of base support groups or family assistance.
Moving all over the country and/or overseas can be thrilling and fun for outgoing and adventurous children as they thrive on the social challenges posed by moving, making new friends and becoming familiar with new environments. However, more introspective children may find it difficult to transition so frequently.
They may begin to isolate themselves and feel it’s not worth the effort to make new close friendships out of the fear they’ll have to pull away again in a year or two since military families are amongst the most transient of populations. It is not uncommon to see kids who have grown up in military families who have been in five, seven or even nine different schools by the end of their high school career. There is very high mobility and with high mobility come issues of engagement, disengagement and re-engagement.
Our public is lulled into believing that service members are not actively engaged in conflicts and are fast returning to a peacetime military. This notion could not be further from reality as many of our service members still make sacrifices associated with overseas efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Asia and many other locations. My husband is currently set to deploy this spring. I am amazed at the misconceptions the civilian community has regarding issues a military family has.
Recently, I was approached and ask about what I thought about the “biggest” complaint military spouses have regarding deployments – “being a single parent to our children.” I personally do not feel this is true and expressed my feelings accordingly. There are many kids in the U.S. and abroad that only have a single parent. I am personally a child of divorced parents. And there are many of those kids that have a life that is worse than a military child, but that is not the point in this discussion.
The point is: Our military children are losing a parent and/or stability for months at a time– some, permanently! Not because of divorce or other circumstances, but because they answered their call to duty with honor.
Through the month of April I will be highlighting resources and/or community events that military families and children can facilitate in your area. If you are aware of an activity please send in the information so that I can share it with your community.
Blessings from my family to yours,
If you have any questions or concerns or would like to share a story or situation, contact me at Kim@MilitaryResourceBooks.com and visit my website for updated information and other resources not listed in my book.