The month of April is the Month of the Military Child. This special celebration is a legacy of former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger - established to underscore the important role children play in the Armed Forces community.
According to the Military Child Education Coalition nearly 2 million children across the world are connected to the U.S. military. That's a lot of kids; kids that are faced with circumstances that civilian kids may never face. Despite their challenges, experts say that military children are well rounded, culturally aware and tolerant, and extremely resilient.
But, that doesn't happen by accident. Behind every military child are military parents working hard to enhance the lifestyle that is handed to our military brats - even before they can appreciate it.
I read somewhere that the official military brat flower was the dandelion. Why a dandelion? The plant puts down roots almost anywhere. It is almost impossible to get rid of. An unpretentious plant, yet good looking (except for the habit of being where you least expect it). It's a survivor in a broad range of climates.
I used to worry a lot about our daughters being "military brats." What about changing schools, making new friends, and ever finding some place to call "home"? Would they be well adjusted adults? What about roots, were we intentionally not giving them any roots? I could go on and on but military spouses know what worries I am talking about. When I really started to think about it, I see the military more as a benefit to my children than a disservice we are doing them. Kids are resilient and they are learning how families and friends can stay connected and love each other despite their locations. Just like that dandelion, military children really do live the motto "bloom where you are planted."
This month in our USAA Military Spouse community we will be focusing on our military children and we hope that you will spend some time seeing what is out there for your family, too.
To get you started, check out monthofthemilitarychild.com for arts and crafts, lesson plans, and activities that will be fun for the whole family. Download the AWN Children's Book List and go for a trip to the library.
For more wonderful ideas on how to celebrate this month in your local community or at an installation check out the tons of resources available online for military families:
Operation Military Kids
Military Youth on the Move
Our Military Kids
Operation Purple Camps
Zero to Three
Talk, Listen, Connect (TLC) DVD from Sesame Street
Flat Daddy (make your own - too cool!)
Operation Hug A Hero
Operation Give A Hug
April is the Month of the Military Child but as you well know we're parents all the time. Don't forget that there are resources all around you when you're in need of a hand. Contact your installation and ask about their Family Advocacy Programs, New Parent Support, and Parenting classes.
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