April is “The Month of the Military Child,” as designated by Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger in 1986.
Being a child isn’t easy, especially in our world today. I have two military children, and while we’re fortunate the husband only leaves for weeks or a month instead of months or year (or more), it’s still difficult for them. We can’t always call daddy at bedtime. They don’t always understand why daddy is gone for so long. To a five and three year old, two weeks might as well be two years. It effects their everyday. They’ll have to switch schools, make new friends, find their way again and again. It’s not easy on them, or us, but we believe we’re giving them a wonderful chance to see places they may have never seen if we stayed in one place all of our lives.
This month, several organizations are celebrating the Month of the Military Child with special programs and events. Check out the DOD Education Activity website for links to several resources on how to celebrate Month of the Military Child in your community. And you can head over to Blue Star Families to print out a certificate to honor the military kid in your life.
If you aren’t a military family, there are still ways to connect and get involved. Joining Forces, the White House’s commission to support military families has a large database of volunteer opportunities.
You don’t have to spend hours volunteering, either. Something as small as giving a child a hug or inviting them over for a playdate when mom or dad is away makes all of the difference in the world. Let them know they’re loved. Understand they may be having a rough time when their parent is deployed or when they’re starting at a new school in the middle of the year. Be there to listen or lend a hand with homework. That’s all it takes.
We’re celebrating all military kids this year, not just ours. We hope you’ll join us.