April is the Month of the Military Child, so I thought it was the perfect time to chat about what it means to be a military child and what we can learn from these super resilient kiddos!
Today my 12-year-old is sitting with me as I write this post to share his thoughts and what he wants everyone to know. I will try and translate his minimal words into something we can all understand!
So here are the things he wants you to know:
1. Don’t get used to being in the same place.
Translation: Don’t get caught in a rut. So often, we find routines and experiences that are comfortable, and we get stuck. We come to rely on these comfortable routines. Moving to a new place frequently forces us to re-evaluate these routines and habits.
This is not to say that we can’t create similar routines in a new location. Moving just allows us to evaluate which of our ruts are bringing us joy and which is just a crutch.
2. You don’t know what to expect when you go somewhere else.
Translation: Be open to new experiences. This one goes hand in hand with number one. Every new location has exciting and amazing opportunities available if you are willing to explore and be open-minded.
When we move, we can evaluate what is really necessary. The removal of our old activities allows us to either seek out that same activity in a new location or try something new altogether.
In my son’s case, we moved from an area where he was in the gifted program. His new school doesn’t have a program, but that allowed him to branch out and join both the chess club and scholar bowl. Two new experiences that he has absolutely loved!
3. Have fun.
This one needs no translation. Military kids know more than anyone that moments are fleeting. We only have so much time with a certain group of friends or in a particular location. So enjoy each of these moments as much as possible.
Go to ALL the Cardinals games. Play ALL the hide and seek games.
Put down the less meaningful things (read video games) and do the things that matter with the people that matter!
4. Your dad is never home.
Translation 1: Learn to make the most of the moments you do have. This fits nicely with number three. My kiddos have learned to value the candid moments they get to spend with their dad. They understand that we don’t have all the time in the world because there is a real possibility that dad will be off again soon.
Translation 2: Learn to show grace and be flexible. Many people don’t know or realize that the part where dad is gone isn’t actually the hardest part of a separation. The hardest part is the re-integration. During a deployment or extended absence, we all learn to cope in our own ways. Then when it is time to come back together, conflict is inevitable. My military kiddos are excellent at empathy and understanding the deeper emotions of a situation. This makes them great at showing grace in an emotional situation and also understanding the emotions they are experiencing. Please note that this comes from lots of open and honest conversations about feelings and why we are feeling a certain way.
There are obviously hardships that come from being a military child. We wanted to highlight some of the great things that we have learned as a family that YOU could also learn from and try and experience in your own life if you so choose.
Thank a military child today! They didn’t choose the life they lead, but they sacrifice each and every day so that their parent(s) can protect your freedom!