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Monday, April 3, 2017 Month of the Military Child

It is an understatement to say that a parent is a crucial element in the life of a child. How then must that child act, think, feel, or cope when the center of their universe – their parent – is pulled away and called to service in times of war, conflict, disaster, or other world crises on a regular cycle or for an extended period of time? The military child is a very special breed who, through God’s providence, experiences life in a unique, challenging, and often adventurous manner. Every military child endures and must cope with challenges spanning a gamut of experiences involving moving across country or around the world, culture shock, adapting, assimilation, relocation, separation, parting, reuniting, emotional isolation, yearning to connect, making friends, leaving friends, loving friends, and losing friends.

Liberty University Institute for Military Resilience April 2017 Blog.

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Let us listen for a moment to the voice of one expert in this field who can shed light on the strength they gain, as well as some of the sacrifice they experience. When asked her thoughts, my daughter offered the following:

I liked living on base where everything was accessible and safe.

On any given day we could ride our bikes to the theatre or pool or bowling alley.

I liked that in each neighborhood we moved to there were a lot of parents, not just our own, who would care for us if need be. 

Their doors always seemed to be open.

I didn’t like when you had to go.

Some of the laughter left. As much as I wanted you to be home which helped me feel safe, there was always a huge sense of security because no matter which way we turned, there were Marines who I believed would protect us no matter what.

I didn’t like having to learn to be so hardened to leaving friends behind.

You truly had to learn to be sad for a minute then meet a new group the next minute and form new bonds of friendship. That form of bonding, which provided emotional survival, is one of the special things a military child has to offer to others – the openness of their heart developed from a larger view of life. We all had this unspoken bond which developed amazing friendships. We learned to keep in touch with one another no matter where we were. I’ve developed friendships that still continue for almost 20 years now. You can’t beat a friendship like that.

The last thing I think is very special is that we get to see so many different parts of the country and even the world.

It’s so amazing to see different places and learn about new cultures. Talk about global socialization! Even though there will always be somewhere you call “home”, it’s amazing to say; “But I also lived here, here, and here.” It’s those stories that tell of the richness of life from the places where God has taken me.

As a result of their varied experiences, the military child can develop strengths while in the crucible of stressors which inevitably equip them with strategies for negotiating life with broadened perspectives. The military child is an unsung hero that we should recognize and commend for the role they play within the military community and the gift of global perspective they offer society at large. 


About the Author:

Jerome Krejcha is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps and is the loving father of five children. Jerome currently serves as a member of the Military Affairs team at Liberty University and he has a heart for encouraging, enabling, and helping military members and veterans achieve success with their educational goals. He recently completed his Master of Divinity in Theology at the Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity. 


 
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