Month of the Military Child
April is typically the time of year when the weather makes a turn. Spring Break and Easter are quickly upon us, and children turn thoughts to summer vacation plans.
At the same time, some military families will face a transition. For many, the upcoming summer months mean another permanent change of station (PCS) or a possible transition from military service. Others will prepare for deployments or training away from their home units and away from family members. While the military service member faces significant challenges during a career, family members face many (if not more) of these life challenging events. Children of service members take on obstacles including frequent moves, changing of schools, and other stressful situations that are often overshadowed during these times.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has marked April as “The Month of the Military Child” in an effort to recognize and raise awareness of military families and children. The family member, and the military child are a resilient bunch as a whole. The DoD indicates 1.7 million total-force dependent children worldwide, and nearly half of them are below the age of 11.
Many of these youngsters will face several moves throughout a childhood. As a former military member and father of a now-adult son, this time of year holds a special place and recalls vivid memories of numerous military moves. My son, born in Georgia, held down five duty stations as a military child, and attended six different schools. His resilience was built on a foundation and bond built through the military community that extended into local areas surrounding military bases. A PCS is stressful and exhausting, yet fun and exciting. Adding a young child to the mix certainly made for interesting times, as my wife and I meticulously organized every step of our PCS’s (trust me, my wife is far more organized than me!).
To the 1.7 million youngsters out there: this month is for you! You are a tough and resilient group who face a unique variety of situations and challenges. By the time you reach the age of 18, many of you will have moved more than the average teenager (some of which will never move). You will change schools, move to different neighborhoods, and gain new friends along the way. For each of your “assignments,” take advantage of the new opportunity. Find new opportunities and new ways to get involved in school and the community. Open your hearts and minds to meeting new people and making lifelong friends. Learn as much as you can about your new location, and tell your Mom and Dad all about it! Finally…help your parents when it comes time to pack the house—they will need it!
By: Geoffrey Phillips
Mr. Phillips is an IT specialist and professional policy writer / content editor; a non-starving writer always in search of opportunities; a USAF veteran; and a devote Church Elder and family man. His passion is in the pen and the people; he absolutely loves to assist transitioning veterans, and finds himself at peace when he is doing some sort of writing.
Photo By: Tech. Sgt. Sarah Corrice