Making Deployment A Time of Growth for Young Children:How Do Adult Attitudes Effect Children?

October 5, 2009 | Categrory: kids and deployment, loss, making deployment a time of growth for young children, military families, military kids, parenting


Paula and I had the privilege of doing a book signing at a friends farm, as they sponsored Military Family Day at their pumpkin patch. A beautiful fall day, with the blue October sky that we here in Colorado enjoy so much! Kids and parents together picking out pumpkins, produce ,and generally enjoying the simple country life.

Up to our table  came a woman, who read through our first book. The daughter of a military father she told of the suffering that she went thorough as a child. It came out differently than perhaps many have thought. The suffering , she explained was not that she was without her father, though that was tough, it was her mothers response that damaged her heart so deeply. Her mother she said, was constantly depressed and unable to cope with her husbands absence. She would sleep and cry, and the children at a young age had to get their own breakfast.

The thing she remembered was her fathers homecomings, which were short and infrequent. He came with all the honor , salutes, flags waving, sun glinting off white uniforms as his ship pulled in. She felt proud in those moments.

As I listened, I thought about the way a parent responds to the difficulties of life. Does it tell the children that they are on their own? That’s a frightening thought for a little one. Does it tell the child that life is only good, when we have what we want and when those we love are close by? Maybe it tells a child that they can make the best of it. With faith , an attitude of adventure, along with the conscious choice for “happy” they can make it. We Serve Too! is an attitude, as well as their story!

I am certainly not suggesting that deployments never bring tears, or the reality that some days are  just downright difficult. If a parent can be real with their emotions, and at the same time teach children that happiness is indeed a choice that can be made, children are better equipped for life.

Some military kids grow up to find they have difficulty keeping relationships intact, perhaps coming from so many goodbyes.  Leaving people every year or so can become an unconscious pattern that interferes with long term choices.  I don’t know the answer, but I wonder if parents who work to stay connected, those who are practicing the principle of resiliency as the hallmark of Military Life, have stronger children?

I want you to see these young ladies that the National Guard honored by making a video of thier song. They are singing about the family, and it is obvious things are not easy. That said,  they are thriving and moving forward.Perhaps the attitudes of their adults have fostered that?  check this out:

The Price of Peace

I do not believe that Military Kids are destined to have these patterns and struggles. They can come through as healthy and well adjusted as any child if the parents attitude is one of honor and purpose in the waiting.

Our attitudes now,  as the adults, can set a child’s life on a course to resiliency or  suffering . There is more choice in it than we know.