There are very real challenges for children of our military families. Frequent moves uproot them and more changes than just the house they live in. New friends, new teachers, new requirements, sometimes new language. A deployment can bring stress and worry over the safety of those they love. Moments and milestones will occur without Mom or Dad there.
But you know what? Military children are a tough and resilient group. No question about it.
That’s not to say that it is all flowers and sunshine all the time. But it can be a rewarding and growth experience that leads to experiences and opportunities that one wouldn’t trade for the world.
We asked this year’s Military Child of the Year ® Award recipients to pass on one piece of advice on how to make the most of military life. These are definitely great tips that are sure to inspire:
• Be as kind and outgoing as possible. A smile can go a long way, and can be especially helpful in making new friends. –Mary Kate Cooper, Military Child of the Year ®, U.S. Coast Guard.
• Try to hit the ground running. It is very easy to get overwhelmed in a new place, but if you take a deep breath and be sure to smile, things will turn out well.-Alexander McGrath, Military Child of the Year ®, U.S. Navy, who has moved 7 times.
• No matter what challenges you face never take your eyes off your goals and strive to achieve them. There will always be a road block to overcome in your life but how you choose to overcome those hurdles will define who you are.-Jamal Braxton, Military Child of the Year ®, U.S. Air Force.
• (Don’t) see disadvantages as innately bad, but see them as opportunities to create growth in yourself and the community.-Henderson Heussner, Military Child of the Year®, U.S. Army.
• Be proud of your parents and your entire family’s commitment to serving our country.-Sophie Bernstein, Military Child of the Year Award for Innovation recipient and daughter of U.S. Navy reservist.
• Enjoy the ride. It will be over sooner than later and you are going to miss this life. Do not let opportunities pass you by.-Jackson Beatty, Military Child of the Year ®, U.S. Marine Corps.
• Always venture out and try new activities. Know that you are supported and you have a foundation with every military kid. If you are struggling, or going through a hard time, know you can always turn to another military child!-Molly Frey, Military Child of the Year ®, National Guard.
Throughout the next week, we will be sharing with you the stories of these seven accomplished young men and women that excel in scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life. Be sure to check back with us, and tune in on our Facebook page as we broadcast LIVE from the Military Child of the Year ® awards gala in Alexandria, VA on April 6.