By Angela Caban
When I ask my three year old daughter what daddy does in the Army, she quickly stands up and yells, “HOOAH!” Can you tell my soldier husband has her trained well?
Although I smile with pride to be a military family, I know this lifestyle has not only affected me as a spouse, but also our children. We hear the term “resiliency” used quite frequently when the subject of military kids comes up. I can’t help but wonder if during my own struggle as a spouse, if they are facing a struggle of their own in their heart? I gave myself to this life, it was my choice. My children were not given the option.
I truly do believe my children are resilient. They have learned to live without daddy and when he returns, they drastically transition to having him home again. We recover as a reunited family. They have grown and continue to do so by experiencing these challenges first hand. Their ability to bounce back is truly inspiring. Still, their well being is something I always keep in the back of my mind. Our children need to feel supported and need to be reminded of the amazing people they are growing up to be, including just how much we truly admire and appreciate them.
As an Army National Guard family, this gets tricky. I remind my children of how valuable we are to the military community; I also explain why we must embrace our civilian community. We are pretty blessed to have both. At the end of the day when daddy isn’t home, we must continue to thrive as a proud military family.
We ask so much of our military children. One way we can ensure that our military children continue to feel supported, especially our Guard and Reserve children, is by taking advantage of those programs and resources available specifically for the support of military children.
Here are 3 organizations that support military children in unique ways:
Our Military Kids provides support for children of deployed and severely injured National Guard and Reserve members through grants. During my husband’s last deployment, we were able to obtain a grant for my son to participate in a summer soccer camp. It is important to keep our kids not only involved in the community, but to also help sustain them while their parent is away.
Chameleon Kids – are military kids who are always changing and adapting. Sounds a lot like military life! Created by two military spouses, Chameleon Kids has fun resources and even a magazine just for military kids.
A Backpack Journalist is geared towards 12-17 year olds, because the teen demographic is faced with multiple challenges when it comes to separations. A Backpack Journalist builds resiliency in teens by allowing them to find their voice through creative projects like writing, photography, song writing, digital storytelling and film making. My children are not quite old enough for this, but I am happy to know there are programs like this waiting for them.
Have any a great military kid resource to add to this list? Share them with us below!
Angela Caban is a military columnist and published author. Her husband, who was deployed in 2008, was one of the many soldiers impacted by the unprecedented activation of the Army National Guard. In 2010 she founded the Homefront United Network to provide assistance and family support through encouragement, educational articles and resources. She is dedicated to assisting National Guard and Reserve families with resources and ensuring no spouse or family member is left behind.
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