Most military kids face more challenges in their childhood than many adults do in a lifetime—and they go through many of them at a young age. From coping with a family member’s deployment or being away for extended periods of time for training, to moving every few years and frequently having to adjust to new schools and communities, military kids constantly experience change.
April is the official Month of the Military Child—a month in which we honor and observe the sacrifices and daily perseverance of military children in overcoming the obstacles they face while their parents serve in the armed forces.
My daughter was a baby when my husband performed his active duty service in the Army, and I’ve witnessed the tears of other kids struggling with their parents’ deployment as a part of the military community for several years.
I’ve seen how strong military kids are as they cope with the hardships they face, and I know their life experiences have given them valuable traits that we can all learn from, such as:
No matter what life throws at military kids, they always seem to find a way to bounce back. They have to leave their schools and friends—sometimes in the middle of the school year—and still manage to embrace their new school systems and communities at the next duty station.
Military-connected youth are able to overcome the emotions of being separated from loved ones, and still find joy and success in their lives. They are able to move forward through their determination, and are the epitome of resilience.
This resilience is something we all could use to be able to push through, and keep going, when life gets tough. It gives us the confidence to tackle anything—no matter how difficult it may be.
There are many ways we can apply this same resilience in our own lives, even if we don’t have ties to the military. When facing hardships in different areas of our lives—finances, health, relationships and more—it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But we have to find the light at the end of the tunnel that these military kids see, and embrace it.
If you are having a tough time financially, plan out a budget, seek financial guidance from an expert and make goals to move forward instead of stressing and remaining in the same situation. Instead of allowing our difficulties to consume us, we need to take them as learning lessons to grow and overcome life’s obstacles.
My husband’s deployment was an emotional rollercoaster for me, and I went through it as an adult. Some days I woke up ready to seize the day, and others I didn’t want to get out of bed. I can’t begin to imagine coping with the deployment of a loved one as a child. But military children find and possess the strength to get through it.
Even on their hard days, military kids are able to keep their head up high and find joy. And this is the strength we all need to embrace happiness and live each day to the fullest.
So, approach each day ready to channel strength. Be confident and know you are able to accomplish anything you set your mind to, no matter how challenging life gets.
As hard as it was, I made it through those tough months without my husband by my side. And it made me realize how strong I really was. You, too, will get through each difficult time, and recognize how much strength you truly possess and how far it can take you in life.
With their parents being away often on military business, military kids often channel and embrace independence. They are able to solve most of their problems on their own before seeking help.
And this same independent thinking is sure to benefit us as adults as we make strides toward accomplishing our life goals and achieving success.
We are all independent beings capable of achieving great things on our own. So as you map out the aspirations you have for your life, don’t be afraid to dream big. Trust in your abilities and go for it.
If you want to be an actress, go to those auditions. If you want to be an author, take your ideas and write a book. If you want to change the world, use your talents and do good. Use that independence and you will thrive.
Every day, military kids are able to adapt to new situations as they move to another duty station—again. They start attending new schools and make new friends, or take on additional responsibilities at home while their parent is away on a deployment or long training period. They know how to adapt to new situations, and embrace them instead of sulking on the fact that things are changing.
They embrace and welcome change, and this is something we should be more open to as well in order to be happy and keep growing as individuals.
Change is inevitable and it’s something that is bound to happen at one point or another. So instead of shying away from change, adapt and accept it. Think of it as a new adventure and focus on all the good that can come from new experiences.