Military Kids Speak | Military Family Expert, Julie Rahm

Friday, August 12, 2016

Volume, By Gabrielle M. Age 12

What is a military brat? This is a term to describe kids like me. A term that says we are dependent, whiny, childish, and immature - that we lack a voice and aspiration. But you'll be surprised at how we truly live. We live with a kind of maturity you wouldn't think of, while carrying the weight of many responsibilities. And we military kids do have a voice - an astonishing one. 

It was extremely hard to leave San Diego, California for the first time. Actually, that's an understatement. I will miss sandy beaches, bustling downtown, and blue oceans. Days where I wake up at 7:00 a.m. to drive to High Tech Middle where all my best friends will be waiting for me seem far away. I will long for the mornings of cousins and family chatting and watching television. But, I am to blame for this. I made the choice to go to Sicily, Italy so there's no backing out. Like they say, you get what you asked for. However, what I got wasn't half bad. 

The thought of school in Sicily made me shudder, yet it filled me with curiosity. I knew it would be a bit hard to adjust to this school since I came from a project-based learning school. What would the classes be like? What classes will I be taking? What are the students like? Will I fit in? These questions stirred in my head while I made my plans to survive middle school. I had decided then to stay low, meet some friends, and get through everything. Only later, had I realized I was wrong. Like every person does before its back to school again, I got a new look. Although, not only had my looks changed, how I thought became different too. I felt more patient and understanding. I looked at life differently and looked for inspiration in many situations. I also felt more confident about myself, like a unique individual. I'm not trying to be narcissistic, I'm just simply acknowledging the fact that I'm different and I'm proud of that. 

For me, making friends was unbelievably easy. At first I was quiet, and reserved. Many of my classmates have told me they were intimidated by me the first time they met me. I kept to myself. But, once I showed my true colors, people threw themselves at me like moths drawn to a fire. 

Living abroad has its ups and downs. Keeping in touch with my family and friends back in San Diego can be difficult at times, especially with the different time zones. Also, going out into town is a disadvantage if you don't know where to go and/or if the language is different. But, with the disadvantages comes the better part of living abroad. First, the beautiful places and cultures are amazing to see, because they hold so much history. The best part though, is meeting new people. 

Whenever I think about being in this military family, I feel lucky. Many Filipinos have dreamed of one day going to America. My family was one of those lucky ones. Many years have passed and now we've arrived in Italy. To tell you the truth, I'm proud of my father for being in the military for such a long time. 

Deployments are very long and worrying. It can be hard for a family member to be gone for that long, but you get used to it sometimes. But whenever my father is gone I have a responsibility that I have to carry out on my part. I have to help out my mother with daily activities and do chores that my dad would usually do. I have to act mature and be responsible in school. So even while my dad is gone, I still have many responsibilities. 

My stay in Sicily, Italy has so far been amazing. When I look at what I said about just trying to survive being a military kid, I realize now that I must live with a purpose, or as Henry David Thoreau said, "to live deliberately”. I encourage military kids all over the globe that are lacking ambition to finally stand up and speak with loud voices letting people know who they are and what they stand for. I hope that they find that inspiration, patience, maturity, emotion, and strength that I've found during my stay here. I hope that they find that uniqueness in themselves as military kids and be recognized for it.

How to Make Memorial Day Meaningful to Kids




Sunday, December 20, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Artist Dave Dorman on Growing Up in a Military Family

Did you know that Dave Dorman has been the premier Star Wars artist since the first trilogy, and that he grew up in a military family? Dave is featured in Chapter 16 of Military Kids Speak.

Enjoy some excerpts of Chapter 16 below.

Dave Dorman on growing up in a military family:
"I'm grateful that my dad chose the career he chose. I have great respect for everyone in the military. I would not change my childhood at all, because it put me where I am today."

What did you learn as a result of being raised as a military kid?
"I learned tolerance. Diversity was always there. I learned to understand different people. Living in different places having people of different races as your friends, everybody was just a kid. There was no difference. Everybody was together for one thing- the support and defense of our country. My learned experience is that everybody is equal. As I grew up and learned about history and racial differences, I thought it was so weird that people could think that way."

When did you start drawing?
"I have been drawing since junior high school. Drawing in the science fiction theme was a way to escape my lonely times and create a whole different world to think about. As a senior in high school, I decided to make art my profession…"

Just one thing
"Have faith, and support what your parents are doing. Have patience with them, because they are doing something very important for us and for our country. And know that they love you even if they are gone for a long time. Their love is still with you. It doesn't leave with them."

Check out Chapter 16 of Military Kids Speak to find out more about Star Wars artist, Dave Dorman and where to write to him!
Click Here to See the Latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens Art By Dave Dorman!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Original Star Wars "Luke Skywalker" Mark Hamill Reveals Details about Growing Up in a Military Family

Did you know that actor Mark Hamill grew up in a Navy family and lived all over the world? Chapter 9 of the book Military Kids Speak features Mark Hamill who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy. Enjoy these thoughts from Mark:

Where did you live growing up?
"Port Hueneme, CA; Williamsburg, VA; San Jose, CA; New York City, NY; San Diego, CA; Alexandria, VA; and Yokohama, Japan."

"We moved about every two years, except for our time in San Diego. We lived in San Diego for four years, which was great. I went to fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh grades there. Even so, I went to three different schools there. We moved to a different house after I finished fourth grade. So I went to a different school for fifth and sixth grades. And then I changed schools to start junior high school."

Was it easy making new friends when you moved to a new place?
"It would take me a little while, but it wasn't hard. There is a lot of camaraderie among military kids. I remember being in Japan and looking at this guy thinking he looked familiar. One day we were in the cafeteria at school and he said, 'I thought the same thing about you.' It turns out we had been buddies when we were eight or nine years old and living in San Diego. It was a wonderful moment. It was so out of context that it took us a moment to figure out how we knew each other."

How did you feel about the military lifestyle - deploying, relocating, making friends?
"Growing up, we moved from coast to coast about every two years. When I was very young, it was an adventure. I loved the monumental scope of packing everything up and driving across country - staying in hotels or camping out. It was all very exciting."

"But as I got older and started going to dances and wanting to hold hands with girls, then I really disliked moving intensely. I disliked the idea of it. You move to a new place and you'd be a stranger, be the outsider for two, three, or four months. After I got settled in, I always liked where we lived."

Check out Chapter 9 of Military Kids Speak to "hear" more from Mark Hamill about:

  • what activities he was involved in as a child
  • what he learned from being raised in a military family that made him successful now
  • what his biggest challenge was and how he handled it
  • how he got the part of Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy
  • where to write to Mark
One of my favorite stories was how Mark got a drama club started at his high school in Japan. Just because an activity doesn't exist when you arrive doesn't mean you can't get it going!

Here are a few final words of advice to other military kids from Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill:
"Take your experience and make it work for you, because you are unique. Maximize the opportunities you have that civilian kids will never be offered. Be proud of your parent's service and know you are special."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Helping Hands = Making a Difference, By Lauren Anderson at Age 11


Being a military child can be tough. Making a difference in the community is something each person in the military does. You can do it too! Making a difference in the community is something that I not only enjoy doing, but it is also something that can relieve stress. 

I like to make a difference by raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am the 2009 Honorary Youth Candidate of the Year. This job of being the 2009 Honorary Youth Candidate required me to raise money, collect donations, collect auction items, and do different types of fundraisers. As a result of all my hard work I put into the fund raiser, I got to go to a dinner at the Skirvin Hotel. I got to take my friends and people that have made a difference in my life. These people included my three closest friends, my Mom, my Grandma, two of my Grandma's friends, and my fifth grade homeroom teacher. I received a gift from my teacher. It was a Willow Tree figurine. It was very neat. My Dad was not able to make it due to being stationed at Fort Leavenworth, KS for a school that he had to complete for the Army. 

The fun night started out with a silent auction. There were many items up for bidding. There was anything from a family fun day to a spa resort package. Next came the dinner. It was a three course meal. After dinner was the live auction. My items consisted of a private concert for six by a professional recording artist. He happily donated his service after experiencing a family member live with cancer. 

Helping your community is not only good for it, it is also good for you. You learn responsibility and many other things. I believe that my parents have raised me to help the community in any way possible. My Dad helps fight for the freedom of our country and I want to help my community. 

In 2008 I raised over two thousand dollars for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I would encourage everybody, military child or not to find a cause they like and fully support it. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is just one of the many organizations you could join. Helping makes you a better person. If you join a cause, be prepared to fully join it. Do not start and quit in the middle. It is a task that can take up a lot of your spare time. I think it is worth it, though, because it is fun and hard work. You want to put forth your best effort with the intent of helping others. A wonderful bonus is that you might win a prize! Really it gives you a very good satisfaction that you did something good for your community. My favorite part about helping the community is the feeling that you get knowing you have helped the community to improve for the better. 

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is a society that raises money to help find the cure for all different types of blood cancer. Some of their fundraising techniques include an annual walk and an auction. They are both very successful. They also offer team in training where they raise money, but the volunteers that participate get trained by others that help them to run a marathon. Other organizations like the American Red Cross are great, too. They help people in need. 

Helping your community is a great thing to do. It will always make you feel good about yourself when you finish. Any fundraiser is a fantastic way to help out. Anyone can help. As a military child, giving back is just one trait that I have. I am very proud of it. I want to help my community and world. By serving your community, you could save someone's life. I consider helping my community an honor. My parents have taught me to do the best that I can in everything I attempt. One of those things is helping my community. 

The world can be a better place just by doing one small thing. You do not have to do many great big giant things, you can do one small little thing and you might make an impact on someone's life. In order to be good at helping, you need to be fully committed and ready to serve. You might have to listen to other people, so be prepared to obey people older and younger than you. It is tough work, but it is definitely worth the work and time. 

Loving what you are doing is also very important. If you do not fully understand and get what you are doing you won't ever reach your full potential. This is where the suggestions of others helps. Their personal experiences can come in extremely handy. It doesn't matter your color, height, weight, age, history, or anything else. You can help!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Priorities

By Mairin H., Age 16


I have been to eighteen of the fifty states. I have ridden the Metro in Washington D.C., the subway in Paris, and the Tube in London. I'm a pro at traveling on airplanes. was born in Tacoma, Washington, I currently live in Heidelberg, Germany, but I call Rochester, New York my home. I have moved eight times in my sixteen-year life. I have suffered through two deployments and rejoiced when my dad returned. In short, I am an Army brat. 

"Home is where the Army sends you." That phrase is a favorite among military family members. It sarcastically captures the main feature of an Army family's lifestyle-constant moving from place to place, sometimes with less than six months' warning. Moving is an unfortunate and unavoidable aspect of a military kid's life. My family and I PCS-that's an Army acronym for Permanent Change of Station, the official name for relocation-about every two years; whenever it's time for my dad to have a new job, it's time for us to pack up and go. I've moved so many times, I have it down to a science-my parents have barely told me the news before I've carefully wrapped and packed my favorite belongings. (You can never trust the movers to treat your fragile possessions with the care they deserve. I've learned that the hard way.) Also necessary is the skill of packing as many clothes as possible into one suitcase. Household goods don't always arrive on time, and it's never pleasant to be stuck wearing the same clothes for a month. Over the years, I've cultivated these necessary skills-moving is almost second nature to me. 

Packing and shipping stuff is easy; unpacking and decorating my new room can even be fun. However, the emotional aspect of moving is not simple, and I will never get that down to a science. Leaving friends behind and starting over in an unfamiliar, and therefore uncomfortable environment is never, ever fun. When I'm new somewhere, all I can think about is how much I miss myoid school and myoid friends, and I wish with all my heart I could be back in myoid neighborhood. Before a move, I try to prepare myself by thinking of how great our new house will be, and how much fun I'll have exploring a new city. Before we came to Germany, I tried to convince myself that I would have so much fun traveling around Europe that I would never miss Virginia. It never works. The first few weeks, or sometimes months, after a move are awful. When I'm new and I have no one to talk to and no one to hang out with, I just feel absolutely, unbearably lonely, and it's a terrible feeling. When it's really bad, I'll even stop emailing or calling my old friends, because the pain of remembering how happy I was in the old place makes the new place seem a whole lot worse. 


The lonely phase doesn't last, though; eventually, I meet some people and make new friends, and then I catch up with my old friends, and the whole world seems so much better. Facebook is a huge friendship-preserver. While it's not the same as face-to-face contact, I can stay connected with all my friends no matter where they are - depending or the time difference between us, we can chat online. I still miss my old friends from time to time, no matter how many new friends I have. There's no solution for times like those. But I think of how lucky I am to have met so many people all over the world, and that makes me feel slightly better. 


I've learned many things living as an Army brat. But, above all else, the Army has taught me how to prioritize. Stuff, I have realized, does not matter. Stuff breaks or gets lost during a move. People matter. I may have lost some favorite belongings while moving but I will always have my family, and that is all I really need. Separating from my friends and leaving everything behind is hard, life-shattering even, but my family is always there for me during every single move, whether I realize and appreciate it or not. Sometimes, all I want is to live in one place forever and never move. Sometimes the nature of our lifestyle makes me very unhappy. But one of the happiest moments of my life was when my dad returned from a deployment in Iraq. When I saw my dad, safe and sound and back home with us, I didn't care where we were living or where we might be moving. I would move every six months if it kept my dad safe and my family all together. 


When people find out my dad's in the military, they sometimes thank me for my service. My first thought is always, "Don't thank me-my dad's the one that serves our country, not me." But I have realized that I do serve my country, in a way. I support my dad as best I can. I put up with being a military kid, through the good and the bad. (Traveling all around Europe is pretty fantastic, despite everything else.) I know my dad has an important job, and the safety of our country is worth the sacrifice. 


I will not go to the same high school for four years, as much as I want to. But, I would rather live in a safe country than graduate with my friends. At least I can know that my friends are living in a safe country, too.

Monday, February 4, 2013

How to Deal With the Special Challenges of Military Families


By Tina Kehoe

When a family member is deployed for duty, the family dynamic at home is altered. Children, parents, wives and husbands left at home scramble to keep a semi-normal life. Added stress is placed upon the family members since they have to take on more responsibilities at home, work and school.
If you aren't careful, all the added stress and pressure could blow up in your face leaving you less productive and possibly even sadder because you start to focus on the missing family member, wondering if he or she will be coming back.
Dealing with the special challenges of military family life is hard, but a necessity.

Be OK With the Move

Moving frequently comes with the territory of military families. It's a way of life and you won't get anywhere if you constantly complain about having to pack up and move every few years. You might find it difficult to form strong friendships or become active in your community because you feel like, "Well, what's the point? We'll be leaving soon anyway." That's not a good attitude to have. It's the friendships you make and the relationships you form that keep you grounded and preoccupied from the struggles of military life.

Volunteer Your Time

Keep your thumbs busy and volunteer your time making care packages to sent to troops overseas. Ed Young, pastor of the church in Grapevine, Texas hosted a decorated U.S. Marine and dedicated the event in his honor. Young's Fellowship Church recently hosted an event entitled "A Weekend of Honor" in which members of the community came together to put together care packages together to send to the troops and also served members of the Armed Forces and their families dinner.

Do Not Focus All Your Attention to News Stories

You will drive yourself nuts if you constantly watch local news stories or keep an eye on CNN 24/7. Whatever you do, don't spend hours combing through news articles or listen to news stories thinking it's happening where your loved one is located. I'm not saying cut news out of your life all together, but be mindful and watch in moderation.

Meet Other Military Families

Who better to understand your situation than other military families? If you have close friends who don't have a loved one deployed, they can only try to understand the situation you're in and will often times question why you can't just live a normal life and not worry about the things you can't control.
Search the Internet for discussion boards or join a military Facebook page and talk to other families going through the same thing you are. You will be surprised at how relaxed you feel after talking to someone who understands what you're going through.

Get Your Family to Try Something New

Start doing a family recipe of the week or have a fun family game night during the weekends. The best way to stay positive is to keep everyone happy and not dwell on the "what if." Get the kids to join a new after school club and while you have some spare time, take up a new craft or hobby.

Remember: You Signed Up for This

Even if they weren't in the military while you got married, discussions have come up and you knew it could have been a possibility. It takes a very strong person willing to deal with the trials and struggles when having a loved one away, so just remember you're stronger than you think.

Tina Kehoe
Tina is a stay-at-home mom of three wonderful kids. She shares her tips and adventures with readers and loves reading their feedback.

Julie

Julie Rahm

Mindset means everything. And no one knows this better than Julie Rahm, aka America's Mindset Mechanic. A former naval physicist, Julie applies physics to the energy of human thought and the results thoughts create. As a military daughter, spouse and mother-in-law she has experienced the challenges of deployment separations, frequent moves and telecommuting careers while remaining happy and achieving her dreams. With her passion and people-loving style, Julie has provided the metaphorical tools for thousands of people to bridge the gap between their thoughts and their lives. Julie Rahm, M.S., is a certified Frame of Mind Coach who has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including The Phil Knight Show and ABC affiliates. She hosts The Mindset Mechanic LIVE on Saturdays and Sundays on FM107.1 WTKF and AM1240 WJNC in Eastern NC. Her weekly column The Mindset Mechanic appears in The Pamlico News. She has been quoted in numerous newspapers, and on the web at www.Mindset20.com and www.FrameOfMindCoaching.com. Julie is an inspirational keynote speaker conveying life lessons through a blend of intuitive success strategies, enlightened wisdom, humor and fun. She is the Champion of Military Kids around the World. Julie's latest book is Volume I of Military Kids Speak.

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