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  • Chris Keen

Month of the Military Child

Did you know that April is the month of the military child?


Well you do now and it's fully deserved too, because military children are quite simply amazing!


They have a pretty unique and challenging upbringing because...


Their Parents get sent away all the time

Most military children have just one parent serving in the forces but some have both and although they probably wouldn’t be sent away at the same time, they would be sent away at some point, either on a deployment, an exercise or a posting. This means lots of missed birthday parties and other really special occasions.


Where I say both parents wouldn’t usually be sent away at the same time, this isn’t taking into account single parents... I know a few people in the military who are single with children and in that circumstance when they’re sent away, the children are without a parent for often quite a long period of time. This is where Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles and good friends step up.


They have to move all the time

On top of their parents being sent away, they themselves have to move around all the time too! This means that they’ll have to move schools multiple times and move away from any friends they've made in that area.


Most children have that friend or group of friends from their hometown that they grow up with. I still now have the same group of friends at home that I meet up with and do stuff with, the guys and girls I went to school with. Military children however just won’t have this because a ‘home’ town isn’t something they may have ever experienced.


This all means that it can be quite difficult to make new friends in each new location and that could lead to confidence issues.


They live far away from extended family

Even if they’re not moving around all the time it's often unlikely that you’ll be posted to a location where you’ll have family nearby. The closest we’ve been to family so far was a 4 hour drive and it’s likely to be like that for the foreseeable future. That means that for Holly to enjoy a cuddle with Grandma or Grandad we’ll have to travel to them or them to us.


I’ve got to admit I’ve never really thought about how amazing military children were until Holly came along. Watching her point lovingly at the laptop seeing my parents or Kellys parents on a zoom call is lovely to see however it’s also quite heartbreaking because you just know how much she would love to touch them and see them in person.


Although it’s been rubbish, lockdown has probably highlighted this issue further to people who have never had to be away from their loved ones before.



It’s not all negative though...



Although military children can have a pretty tough upbringing, in my opinion it makes them better people and they learn some great characteristics...


Resilience

No matter what you throw at them, they just get on with it. They may have a bit of a moan but once that’s out their system it’s all good.


Adaptability

New locations, new environments, new schools, new friends... You name it and a military child will adapt to it. It may take a few days or even a few weeks but you can guarantee they will!


Confidence

Just like above, the fact military children do have to move around all the time and make new friends all the time that just makes them more confident. They’ll never shy away from a challenge. They’ll grow the ability to face problems head on and deal with anything that life throws at them!


Independence

Military children learn to do stuff for themselves all the time. They learn that mummy or daddy is away for a bit but that’s ok, in the mean time they’ll just get on with life... If they have to learn to ride that bike on their own, they will!


I came across an amazing poem the other day written by an unknown author, if you know who wrote it please let me know so I can give them the credit they deserve.


It’s all about the dandelion WHICH is the official flower of the military child. The reason for this is because it’s seeds are blown all over the place but it will always plant it’s roots and wherever it lands it will blossom. It perfectly describes a military child.


This is the poem...



Dandelions put 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 breeze that takes them to new adventures, new lands and new friends.


Military children are well-rounded, culturally aware, tolerant and extremely resilient. They have learned from an early age that home is where their hearts are. That a good friend can be found in every corner of the world.


They learn that to survive means to adapt. That the door that closes one chapter of their life opens up a new and exciting adventure full of new friends and new experiences.



It’s amazing isn’t it! So if you have a military child in your life, tell them how incredible they are. I’m sure you do every single day anyway!



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