All gave some. Some gave all. No American civilian can fully express the appreciation, gratitude, and indebtedness we feel for the sacrifices made by the men and women of the US military.
Military families move every two to four years (more than three times the national average), constantly adapting to new schools with new friends in new social environments. The realities of military life can be stressful, but they can also help establish strong roots of resilience. With ever-changing surroundings, children learn to be receptive to new people, new ideas, and the ideology that life truly does begin at the end of your comfort zone.
Military children learn to persevere, enduring multiple moves and separations. Growing up in an ever-changing environment provides a crash course on adaptability, which may be challenging in the moment, but valuable in the long term. Through adversity, children become stronger, more flexible, and better equipped to respond with positive energy to new and surprising situations.
Habits & Routines
Military men and women have a reputation for managing their day-to-day affairs with attention to detail, efficiency, and timeliness. With strong leadership, parents set expectations for household responsibilities, creating fundamental routines so that family life flows seamlessly, even if dad or mom is not around.
It Takes a Village to Raise a Child
In military families, community support can be vital, especially during deployments. Military dads, moms, and children recognize and tend to embrace that helping each other is part of the military journey. When touching down in a new part of the world, it’s helpful to get out there and make friends with other teachers, coaches, and parents who can relate to the military lifestyle, good people whose supportive influences reinforce our efforts to raise boys and girls of good character.
Seeing the World
Although duty assignments cause separation for lengthy periods of time, military families often have opportunities to see parts of the world they never would have experienced had it not been for the military.
When parents are placed on military assignment, certain household duties and concerns fall upon the shoulders of the remaining family members. Prior to deployment, it can be worthwhile to bring everyone together to share concerns, goals, and aspirations about the future. With a unified team sharing a united front, families can plan the best ways to navigate an uncertain future and encourage positive contributions, both individually and as a family collective. Emphasize the importance of pulling together to share responsibilities and maintain the household; reassure and stabilize the family amongst the ebb-and-flow of continuous change. It’s worth noting that for most children, no news is more stressful and difficult to deal with than even bad news.
It’s good to encourage children to express their worries, feelings, and concerns openly and honestly. While deployment can be a challenging time, most children successfully adjust to separation. While there is no way to make up for the distance, technology can help families stay connected; video conversations offer the solace of at least being able to see the faces and smiles of our loved ones. To the extent this isn’t feasible, emails and letters are better than nothing.
While a time for joy, a parent’s return home after a long absence can lead to a period of emotional readjustment. Roles, responsibilities, and routines often need to be re-established, requiring patience throughout the reunion process. Multiple deployments, frequent moves, and either serious injury or death are all potential realities. These psychological stresses can trigger emotional trauma and challenges with mental health. If parents or children develop emotional, behavioral, or psychological problems, it’s important to secure the services of a qualified mental health professional.
Post-Discharge Employment Opportunities
If traditional employment is desired, it is important to recognize that most civilian jobs don’t demand the special skills and expertise that are honed during military careers. Veterans who have completed their military service commonly change fields as they enter the workforce. As with any new profession, new skills are required. Whether through self-paced or formal education, retired military personnel may need to equip themselves for the next chapter of their careers. The GI Bill is one valuable resource available to help.
Entrepreneurship can be an excellent option. Military men and women have already demonstrated the courage and self-discipline to defend our nation—making the leap to entrepreneurship is less of a stretch than it might be for ordinary civilians. Although complex, entrepreneurship affords opportunities for creating real wealth—just by solving a problem in the marketplace.
Military childhood is the only one known by military children—make it a good one! Frequently on the move, children who grow up in military families may have to spend time away from their parents; every so often, they must leave old friends to go make new ones. Especially ahead of deployment, parents should establish standards and expectations to ensure the kids play an age-appropriate role in supporting the household while the family looks forward to reunification.
“This is my command- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:9 NLT
When a soldier’s work takes him half-way around the world, he enlists the help of the North Star for a nightly game of catch with his son… a timeless story that connects families while they are apart and offers comforting hope for their reunion.
With an underlying message of courage and commitment that every child can relate to, the book will be especially meaningful to those whose parents, siblings or other relatives serve in the Armed Forces.
Those who help to maintain order and justice are often overworked, unappreciated, and underpaid. This 90-day devotional applies biblical principles to support and strengthen the relationships of military members, law enforcement officers, and first responders. Sometimes the greatest love is not to sacrifice your life but to live a life of sacrifice. Invite God to help make your marriage bulletproof.
Young boys and girls find ways to manage their feelings about deployment (from goodbyes, to the first night, to missed birthdays). Through the support of family and friends, care packages, and calls, these children grow strong with the knowledge of what it means to serve, generating pride from within, that makes glorious reunions all the more sweet by book’s end.
If you’re in a military relationship, you know the strain of long deployments, lonely nights, and difficult transitions. For these extraordinary challenges, couples need specific advice.
A glimpse into the unspoken and unknown truths of war and its impact, told through the personal stories of those who have been there.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Mothers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.