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On Friday I Wore Purple: On Monday I’ll Make Change Happen

Friday, April 15 was PURPLE UP for Military Kids. 

But what happens after those purple shirts get laundered and put away in your drawer?

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Here are 5 things that can be done to help military kids.

Pick one. Pick two. Do them all. But do something.

Military and non-military connected. We ALL must make change.

Why?

Because a strong military child, makes a strong military family, makes a strong military.

Because it is the right thing to do.

Because we love the support our kids feel when they see a sea of purple on a Friday, but we really love the support they feel every other day after that…

 

BE a VOICE (by May 6):

Military parents, please be a voice for your child. COMMENT on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. What impact will you have when you comment on this legislation? As of the writing of this post, there are only SEVEN comments on this important legislation which will impact 1.7 military kids and how they transition between schools and get support for their education.

If you feel something is missing from the Compact, if it is not being implemented correctly, or you have seen issues in using the Compact, voice your concerns. As many military parents know, legislation can look great on paper, but LIVING the words is very different. Please let Washington know you care about your child’s education. Be a VOICE.

 

BE a CARING ADULT:

Resiliency is a word we throw around in the military community. It means to be able to recover from something hard without much damage. It means strength. But when you talk about resiliency with something like a car that gets into an accident, it is acknowledged that someone made that car as tough as it needed to be to survive an accident without much damage.

We are all a part of building the resiliency of our military kids. Some kids will naturally be more resilient than others but they all need caring adults in their lives to build up and maintain their resiliency over time. How do I know this? Because they’ve told us.  And, in fact, sometimes adults in a military kid’s life can break down their resiliency by negative talk and putting barriers in their way.

Think of the kid whose is new to a school who constantly hears, “We’ll do it like we did last year.” or “You should have learned this in fourth grade.” or “You can’t make the team because you didn’t try out in time.” Be a CARING ADULT.

 

BE a NEIGHBOR:

Most people think it is the deployments that wear down military kids but more current studies have been showing that the constant moving is more often an impact on their stress levels.

One very real way we can help military kids with the issue of moving is to be a great neighbor to them. Introduce them to others. Get them connected to the resources you know about. Don’t give them a sad face about being the “new kid.” Instead, give them a smile about all of the experiences your town or city has to offer. Then connect them and welcome them. Being a NEIGHBOR is truly a blessing to a military kid.

 

BE an INNOVATOR:

Military life requires innovative thinking. The military kids that were born right after 9/11 have evolved in their concerns. Those babies are now teenagers and those teenagers are very different military kids than the ones that we started serving as little kids. What do I mean? These kids have often lived through multiple deployments. They don’t know a world without war. They have moved many times. But they are also knowledgable,eager and want to figure out how their military life can help them as they become adults. And they want roots and a way to stay connected to their military community.

They need new programs and new ways of building their resiliency.

We need innovators out in the world to come up with ways to keep our kids connected and to help them be MODERN DAY military kids.

This also goes for our younger military kids too. We need to think of new, innovative ways to serve our population. We NEED more INNOVATORS.

 

BE a FRIEND:

It doesn’t even take a grand gesture or big commitment to make a difference in a military kid’s life. Realize that this child has had to send a parent to war on behalf of our nation, that they have had to move nine times in eleven years as a part of our nation’s call to serve, and that they are making a sacrifice without sometimes even knowing it.

How can you recognize that challenge? By being a friend. A friend who is caring and understanding but not pitying and depressing about military life. Be a friend who encourages and helps a military child find the bright side. Young or old. A friend who listens without judging. A friend who shares their own story and makes them a part of it.

Organize your friendship. Simple ideas like the BUDDY PROGRAM, matches military kids with other military kids. This not only solves a huge problem for military kids but also gives them a chance to be a part of the solution.

Being a FRIEND is a wonderful gift to any child. Being a friend to a military child is sometimes an act that reaches far beyond that year or two you have with them to impact their view of their entire military childhood.

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