Resiliency as a Virtue – Raising Military Children

My husband’s original plan was to fulfill his initial commitment to the Army and then settle down into ‘regular’ life with a wife and family. But then he met me. We married shortly after he commissioned and enjoyed life as just the two of us (cue Bill Whithers) against the world. Children weren’t on our radar and decided early on not to have children until he was well out of the Army. However, here we are 10 years later – my husband is still in the Army (by choice) and we have two phenomenal children and a beautiful dog.

November 2013

My views about raising children within in the constraints of the military have obviously changed from the ones I held as a young newlywed in my early twenties. I also don’t shop at Hollister anymore so I have grown quite wiser. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the lessons of resiliency this lifestyle provides and about 93% of the time I feel that my children are lucky to have such experiences. That being said, there are certainly times when the military presents a situation that will lead your child to feel a great deal of pain. And as a parent, such these moments are absolutely heartbreaking. But we push on.

I like to think of resiliency as a virtue. The skills and coping mechanisms military children learn are all part of a skill-set that will benefit them greatly in their adult life – adapting to new places and situations, remaining flexible when faced with uncertainty, and being a helping hand to those military families in need are just a few. Weston has lived in 5 homes in 3 states while Virginia is the only home Violet has known. I love the fact that our children will get to sample life in many parts of our great country and hopefully many parts of the world (please oh please let us get OCONUS orders at some point).

Weston – 3 months

My children are only four and (almost) 9 months so they don’t really comprehend what this lifestyle entails. My son doesn’t remember his daddy being deployed for a year and my daughter has two parents present throughout her first year – somewhat of a luxury in the military. Our son knows that his daddy is a soldier and sometimes has to go away for work but he is far too young to understand the complexity of war or the dangers associated with being a member of the military. As he gets older, we know there will be difficult questions to answer but we vow to answer them with grace and understanding.

Clay, Weston, and Violet
a quick picture before leaving for work this morning

And most importantly, my children are just that – children. Yes, there are aspects of being a military child that are unique and such circumstances should be recognized and handled with care. But there are a lot of parents out there with jobs that are dangerous and demand time away from home – military children are certainly not alone in that regard. My children have a father who would do anything in the world for them. And he just happens to be a soldier. He demonstrates dedication, honor, and courage on a daily basis – I can’t think of a better role model for our children.

April is Month of the Military Child. If you’re looking for a way to help military children, check out Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides scholarships for children of military members killed in action and wounded warriors. You can also donate to the USO

Linking up at Daffodils

 

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13 thoughts on “Resiliency as a Virtue – Raising Military Children

  1. Jenny @ Creatively Blooming April 10, 2014 / 10:57 am

    Found you from Kate’s link-up. I am so with you on not looking forward to the hard questions about war and what exactly the military does and has done. My 5 year old is full of questions already, but thankfully has taken our sugar coated answers thus far.

    • Karen April 11, 2014 / 7:34 am

      Thank’s for stopping by…I agree, I am not really looking forward to the questions. Our little guy has asked us if there are soldiers in heaven and if we knew any of them but beyond that, we haven’t had to answer anything too difficult yet.

  2. Dee Stephens April 10, 2014 / 11:30 am

    found you through Kate, thanks to your husband for his service and you and your children for being a loving supportive family!

    • Karen April 11, 2014 / 7:34 am

      Thanks for popping in Dee and thank you for the kind words. 🙂

  3. Kate@Daffodils April 10, 2014 / 1:28 pm

    Resiliency is a great word. It is funny how used to the lifestyle we get- even Cullen talks about ‘when we move next time’ all the time. But with Kev’s deployment on the horizon, I know some tough questions and times are ahead. Thanks for linking up!

    • Karen April 11, 2014 / 7:36 am

      One of the aspects I love most about the military is the sense of adventure. I hope to foster such an attitude with my children. Thanks for hosting the link up!

  4. Amanda @ SOTC April 10, 2014 / 1:52 pm

    Great post! We started out just like you all… wanting to fulfill my husbands initial commitment and then bounce back to the civilian world. Here we are though and he is almost 6 years into his military career.. and we just had our first child. Definitely changes the way you think of things, especially the military.

    • Karen April 11, 2014 / 7:35 am

      Life is full of the best laid plans…haha. 🙂

  5. Ginna Van Zandt April 10, 2014 / 2:10 pm

    Found you through Kate! I love that you are still in and just taking it day by day! We have a sweet, chocolate lab, too. Take care!

    • Karen April 11, 2014 / 7:35 am

      Chocolate labs are the best! Thanks for leaving a comment. 🙂

  6. Frank Brooks April 11, 2014 / 9:55 am

    Many others besides your beautiful Children have benefitted from having Clay as a role model.

  7. Jen April 14, 2014 / 6:47 am

    I think it’s great you see the frequent changes and the ability for children to be resilient as a positive.

    I think Nolan has benefitted from all the travel we have exposed him to while living overseas. I notice my friends in the states seem paralyzed with the idea of traveling with a toddler, and honestly, it’s not that bad! I hope it means he will always adapt well.

    Once he becomes school age, though, I know things will become much more challenging. I will say, it’s one of the very few benefits of having children older. We won’t have to bounce him around by the time he is in middle school or high school.

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