Month of the Military Child: An Appreciation Post
Updated: Apr 3, 2020
April marks a special time of year for our military families as it is the month of the military child. People may have strong feelings in support of the military, while others do not but either way I hope that everyone can appreciate the sacrifices that military children - and their at-home parent - make to support their loved ones who are serving on the front lines.
This month is important to me as I am the eldest daughter of a dual-serving, retired military couple and can proudly say that growing up in a military family has shaped my identity as a human being. I have been instilled with the foundational values of kindness, respect, honour and community which were all shaped by my upbringing in a military family and have directly influenced the way I view the world. I have a special appreciation for my upbringing and hope that by sharing it with all of you it may bring some clarity to the role of being a military child.
My parents taught me to always be kind, as they frequently occupied parts of the world that were not their own through deployments and training missions. They found being kind was the best way to build positive rapport with the communities they were visiting, which is why it is foundational in all that I have done and continue to do.
My parents taught me that to be respected I needed to be respectful. This was a concept that carried over to my relationship with the earth, with human beings and with my physical home. Learning to be patient in creating this culture of respect allowed me to engage in the art of gratitude - a practice that has changed the way in which I think and do everything in my life.
My parents taught me about the value of honour. As a young child attempting to understand why my parents were leaving me for months at a time was difficult to grasp. I was sad, angry, and confused but understanding the concept of honour shifted this for me. I began to identify that I was connected to things in the world that were a lot larger than myself and I was very proud of this. I was proud of the roles that my parents had because they were always well-intentioned and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to help others.
My parents taught me the value of community. I’m pretty sure everyone has heard the line “it takes a village” but this took on a whole other meaning when I was growing up. Military families are bonded by their unique experiences and I have witnessed first-hand the way that everyone comes together to support each other. My parents have always stressed the importance of acknowledging and appreciating the unparalleled love and support that comes from a community and the responsibility that I have to give back as a contributing member.
For the Military Child:
Our stories are the most beautiful example of human resiliency. We can move, connect and thrive wherever we go. I know that you have been through hard things. I know that you grew up faster than most kids around you. I know that many of you have experienced shifts in family dynamics and relationships due to a parent living with an Operational Stress Injury. I know that your personal narrative is unique, complex and misunderstood by many but I see you. You are worthy of authentic connections and there are people out there who get you. You are thriving, resilient, capable and I want to thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to serve on the home front. You are heroes in my book.
For those Supporting a Military Child:
Identify the unique needs of military families and do your best to meet them.
Operate from a space of openness and willingness to learn.
Be aware that military children will likely surprise you with their maturity, knowledge of world issues and awareness of their own needs.
Be patient. Creating connections for military kids can be tough.
“The official flower of the military child is the dandelion. Why? The plant puts down roots almost anywhere, and it’s almost impossible to destroy. It’s an unpretentious plant, yet good looking. It’s a survivor in a broad range of climates.
Military children bloom everywhere the winds carry them. They are hardy and upright. Their roots are strong, cultivated deeply in the culture of the military, planted swiftly and surely. They’re ready to fly in the breezes that take them to new adventures, new lands, and new friends."
My hope is that military children will be remembered for the importance of their role in what will be shared as history for our future generations. They are strong, adaptable, resilient and worthy of admiration for the many sacrifices they have made for our country.
Please take some time this month to say "thank you" to a military child in your life.
If you are someone who needs support, please explore the additional resources on www.beepositivecounselling.com, and on Instagram @beepositivecounselling. If you need direct help, please connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.