This Independence Day, I feel so lucky to have met so many wonderful military families this past year.
Here’s what I’ve learned. They deserve our support.
Saying a simple thank you to military families is lovely. Especially if you see them in an airport, on line in a store or at an event. In other words, when the only choice is a brief interaction.
Beyond a Simple Thank You
But here’s 3 more basic things everyone can do when a military family gets relocated to your neighborhood.
Welcome the new family.
One Coast Guard spouse recently described what made a big difference when being newly stationed in New York: welcome bags with information about the area delivered by a (non-military) fellow soccer mom. This warm person learned from the soccer coach that two new players were joining the team and they were part of a military family. This mom took them under her wing and made sure the new family felt part of the community.
Introduce your children to theirs so there is a friendly face in school or on the bus. (The “new kid” is often more vulnerable to bullying behavior.)
Offer your cell number in case there are questions. In many cases, they’re not near family and old friends. If a spouse gets deployed, offer to babysit every once in a while. It’s a stressful situation and as any single parent knows, a bit of time to decompress is critical.
Of course, there are many ways we can step up our efforts to show our appreciation in practical ways. Whether you’re military or civilian, I’d love to hear your suggestions.
If you’re in New York’s Times Square, look up! There you will see proud Army wife and mother of four, Brandy Moore-Klutse. After meeting her, I was amazed at her story of strength, resilience, gratitude and love. She put it all in her autobiography: Redefining Beautiful: Conquering Low Self Esteem. Ironically, they are moving on to their new post this week.
Do me a favor. If you see Brandy and her family in your neighborhood, make sure she feels supported.