Monday, December 6, 2010

A Military Life, By Ruth Burgess, Age 12

Life in the military is supposed to be hard, they say, but I don't agree with them. Maybe it's because I've spent my whole life in a military family, and that I don't know what it feels like to settle down and stay in one place for the rest of my life. Maybe it's because I'm so used to barely seeing my father, or because I'm accustomed to saying good-bye every two or three years. Maybe it's because I'm so used to moving to different places, always being the new kid. But to me, life in the military is exciting, and if I mess up, I can always start again in a new place. My freedom is much larger than any normal child because overseas I live in a protected, safe community. The expenses are surprisingly low where you can buy cereal for two dollars, or a loaf of bread below a dollar.

I've visited places that no child has ever dreamed about going. I've been in China and climbed the Great Wall! I've been to Egypt and have walked in the pyramids! I've visited and lived in so many places, and experienced so many wonderful events. It's hard to believe all of this could fit into a twelve year old. I cannot deny that social life is hard, leaving the friends you have been with, and thinking you might never see them again. It might be hard to adjust to the people around you, who are not talking in the same language, or maybe in restaurants you are thinking, “Squid with fries? Where can I have a decent American meal?”

In my opinion, it's worth it. If I had a chance to settle down and stay in one place forever, I wouldn't want to take it. Why? Because I enjoy having more responsibility than other people. I love how I get to go and live in exotic places and see different cultures. These opportunities that I have, these experiences, are things that I treasure. And I would never, ever, want to 1eave.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Life as a Military Child, By Payton Buss, Age 11

There are many places with many different qualities that can be alike or different, but no place is exactly the same. America is extremely unique. So unique, that it has formed its own defense system called the military. Many countries have allied with the country. So, the U.S. has asked if they may send some of their people to the places that they will accept for the Americans to live. Now many people respect and live for their country. The influence it had on their children made them want to join, too. For doing that, the citizens of the U.S.A. give them their respect.

The first place I ever lived (where I was born), was Washington state. I'd love to tell you about it, but the thing is that I can't really remember it. The reason behind that is because we moved before I even turned one year old! What I can gather, though, is that I was born there when my sister was practically three years old. I lived on an island, and that's it. Not much. After that, I can remember a little of the other places.

Next, we lived in Iowa. We stayed there until I was five and my sister was eight years old. Our dog, Snooter, is a white Westie. She was a lot of fun to be around, but we had to keep her on a leash outside, because we didn't have a fence. We were very close to my father’s family. I used to think that the drive to my grandparent's house was super long. My favorite tree was the old weeping willow with the long leaves and the way the bark twisted around each other. For my backyard, we didn't have a pool, we had a playground, and not just a playground, but a built in playground. In the winter, when it snowed, we'd climb up the little hill that separated us from our neighbors dragging our sleds and speed down the hill. Mom drove me to preschool and then went off to dental school, while my sister rode the bus. I was jealous because I wanted to ride the bus like "all" the kids did (my preschool didn't have a bus, I'm referring to Big kids). Then after I had a happy five years in Iowa, it had to end all too soon.

We then move to Camarillo, California—a place five hours north of San-Diego, very sunny. I absolutely loved Camarillo. There was nothing not to love. I remember my best friend, Jessica Mertez. She lived right next door and was pretty sporty so I didn't see her very often, though we did have lots of fun. The other friend on my block was Jeffery Westover. He told me scary stories until I was afraid of the dark, but otherwise he was a good friend.

We had a really big house. It had enough rooms for us to have our own rooms and a guest room! We had a decent-sized kitchen, along with a pool. The pool was positioned right below the hot-tub and, from the pool, the outside of the hot-tub had little¬ rocks. Once a duck tried to nest in our pool, but dad scared it out. Jessica was the only one who let the duck stay in, so the duck produced ducklings! You haven't heard everything, the duck and her family lived right in her pool! They died though; you can't expect them to survive when they're diving in a pool. Anyway, it's time you see the next destination.

This time it's only five hours south, San-Diego. Mom and I always walked to a nice little shopping center for our Saturday breakfast. The best part about where we lived was that we were approximately five minutes away from Sea World. Oh, and be sure to get wet on the two rides. My school was Creekside Elementary School, part of the Poway district, but was actually in San-Diego. That's where I had the best teacher ever! Mr. Parker. We were Parker’s pupils. If I had got him in fourth grade, he wouldn't have been the best teacher ever. Best teachers ever are reserved for third grade. I seriously suggest that Mr. Thomson teach third grade, then he could be a best teacher ever. I came here over-prepared for fifth grade. Now, All Aboard!

I am now in Okinawa, Japan. I am enjoying my time here as much as I would anyplace. The Japanese are very nice, courteous, and caring. I know that myself because my nanny is Japanese. I spend so much time on base, sometimes I forget I'm in Japan. This is my first time overseas, and I thought it was going to be like any other move, any other place, but I was dead wrong. In Japan, people aren't impolite, and the move was much more stressful, box-filled, and complicated than any other move that happened to me. I didn't like the way we had to wait to get onto a plane to San Francisco, to get to Tokyo. I hope you enjoyed learning about my life.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Moving, By Tyler Mosley, Age 11

When I found out we were moving, the pressure was on for me. It was hard enough just to tell my friends that I was leaving. It was even harder just to tell my best friend.

I was extremely sad in many ways. What made me even more sad was that I could only bring a little amount of my stuff on the plane. We gave most of our belongings to our relatives. Then, when the sign was put up for our house to be sold, we left for the airport.

When we left the house, it broke my heart to leave my friends and family behind. The way it broke my heart was that I had played with all my friends since I was just two years old.

Just to get to the airport was about two hours long because of the traffic. As we drove to the parking lot, there were many cars parked outside the airport. Most of them were mini vans and regular sized vans. As I went into the airport, it felt like the world was smaller because of how many people were at the airport. Many people spoke of where they were going or where they came from. People spoke different languages, which was weird to me because I only knew English back then. What I thought was even weirder was when I tried to talk like the other people, I would get tongue twisters or it would tickle my lips. I tried to speak like the other people who did not speak English. Standing in line, I said my last good-byes in person to my relatives. As we got on the plane, I sat right next to the window to wave to my relatives getting into their car, but unfortunately for me they didn't wave back. The plane was crowded with many people and the only thing that satisfied me was that I got to sit next to the window and my family. To me, it was boring on the plane. I tried my best at entertaining myself. I looked out the window and thought about the animals and plants and what they look like from the air. After what felt like an hour, but was really only thirty minutes, I got bored again. I got up to stretch my legs and other body parts, and then I sat on the chair and went to sleep.

As soon as I fell asleep, they announced that we had arrived at Tokyo, which got me pretty mad because I was tired. As we got off our plane, they checked our passports and stamped them. When we were inside the airport in Tokyo, we did the same thing we did before—just sit and wait for our plane. My parents thought that I would ask if we could see the sites or see the shops, but I was too sleepy to even move. So I went to go sit next to the window where the planes took off.

Ten minutes into watching the planes taking off, I fell asleep. I snoozed for an hour. I could have slept even longer, but we had to get in line to go to Okinawa. We were served food on the plane to Okinawa. I only ate a little amount of food because I was sleepy. The ride was at least three or four hours long.

When we got to Okinawa, I felt like a cheetah running at one hundred miles per hour, but somehow I still felt sad inside. I tried to forget about the past, but it was almost too hard. I tried my best to forget about it. We went to get our bags and I saw many different faces and people. I felt very weird. I tried my best to blend in, but the more I tried, the more I felt weird.

When we got out of the airport, it felt like a totally different world to me. As we got outside, I saw some words. They were hard to read, but I found out how to say them. They were pronounced "Naha Airport.” After that, we got a cab to go down south of the island. There were many new things that I had never seen before. We got a room in a hotel on Camp Foster. The room was just the right size for me. When I got off base to see some of the Japanese culture, I met some Japanese children and American children just my age. That made it easier to live there and let go of the past. I will always remember my friends and family members in America by heart. I was happy to be living in Okinawa. I'm still happy living in Okinawa to this day, but I will never forget about my homeland, America!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Moving, By Emily Parrott, Age 11

Being a military child is unique and has its advantages and disadvantages. We get to have special identification cards at age ten while most non-military have to wait until they are older. We know more about the world than most and can adapt to new situations easily. While most kids usually never set foot outside of their hometowns, we travel all over. But with traveling, comes another experience. That experience is moving. That is what I am going to talk about in this essay.

There are quite a few negative things about moving. But it is part of being a military kid. It is hard to look at it that way, though, when you are actually moving. Sure, you are going somewhere beyond your wildest dreams (or nightmares), but you are leaving friends and possibly family. It is really hard to leave the community that you have worked so hard to fit into. It is a highly frightening experience. "You will make friends when we get there," your parents say, as though you are just walking down the street to visit a family. "It is an adventure!" they declare, "and whether you like it or not we are going!" Yes, moving can be a pain in the neck sometimes, but it isn't going to change anything if you whine.

Though there are lots of bad things about moving, there are also lots of good things about moving too! It is usually fun to move to exotic places. If you happen to move back, you already have friends!

Also, have you ever heard the song that goes "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold?" Well, that song is true. You can still keep in touch with old friends. And new friends are always out there! In school, in the neighborhood, and at activities, new friends are everywhere, waiting for you to discover. If you put yourself forward, anything is possible!

Personally, I have moved five times in the last eleven years. All of those moves have been really helpful to me. For example, moving has taught me how to easily cope with changes like switching houses and making new friends.

The experiences that military kids have give us advantages that don't seem like advantages to non-military kids, like flexibility. Flexibility is important to learn as a child because it helps you cope as an adult. I have learned to love moving because it is something I do every two or three years. For instance, when I moved from Maryland to Sicily, Italy, I was excited to move to somewhere exotic. Plus, I kept in touch with my old friends until I found new ones.

Moving, as I mentioned before, is part of being in the military. It is fun sometimes, but the ups and downs are tremendous. I write this essay in hopes that it will help other kids in the military. I personally think moving is exciting after all the boxes are gone. It quickly becomes a piece of cake and a stroll down Easy Lane with a picnic basket full of fun in your hand.

Though the military is tough, it is part of your life. Just think of all the advantages you have over other kids! You have everything better off than them. You can use your vast knowledge to help! When it all comes down to it, the military life is the choice I would choose to have as a kid. You get to see new places and other new things! The military life lives through thick and thin. So go and get those new experiences!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Assuming New Responsibilities, By Efranys Rodriguez Calvo, Age 13

I was born into a military family 13 years ago. One might wonder what it is like to be a military child. Well, it has been excellent on one side, but on the other hand, it has been difficult. Dealing with my dad leaving and returning, and doing my house chores, too, is not an easy thing. There is a good side, and that is to have the opportunity to be in a military school system, as well as other advantages such as: having discounts, having the opportunity to meet new people, going to the Post Exchange, and traveling.

I won't say it has been too hard, because my family has always been there for me, but there have been difficult days. Being in a military family is hard because the family separates as a consequence of all the assignments the soldier has to do (in this case my dad), but when he comes back home there is more of a connection among all the members of the family. We also have the time to share special moments as a family.

When my dad was away each member of the family lived in his/her own bubble. There were not as many happy times as before. In my case, I have to deal with many things every day. Last year, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and from that day on she has not been the same as she was before. This has made the situation at home even more difficult. In addition, my dad works in Ceiba. Therefore, when I get home I have to take care of my younger siblings because of my mother's condition. I have to help them with their homework and other school related things, plus I have to do my own homework and extracurricular activities. Although we have many hardships, I must acknowledge our blessings too. We can enter the base, receive a good education, and have the opportunity to travel around the world.

When my dad was deployed, I felt unsafe because we were four women and a young boy in the house. My dad was the one that if an accident occurred, he was there to solve any problems. He also was the one that was watching the house every night; the one that went outside to check why the dog was barking. But when he was away, my mom and I divided the responsibilities and the chores of the house. When my dad was deployed, the connection between us broke apart because we could not talk so much. When we talked, it was only about how I was and how he was. We did spend time together when he was back, but it has never been the same as before. Now, every time he says that he has to go, it is normal to me because I am used to hearing those words.

Since the day my dad came back home, I realized that I had matured very fast. Now I take care of my younger siblings as if they were my own kids. I do all of the chores and responsibilities I had to do when dad first left, but now I feel it is something normal. In addition to all these things, since he returned, I do not talk too much with him. We only talk about daily situations because he is always working and taking care of others.

Something that has concerned me is that people always thank the soldiers and I understand that, but what about their children? We should get an award and a prize, because we give a lot of our time taking charge of responsibilities and working diligently so life goes on when our parents are not home. This affects so much that there are days I want to see my dad, and there are others that I get tired of not even seeing him even though I love him.

A lesson that I learned from these experiences is that I should help the person beside me. I should always spend some time with those kids whose parents are away and ask them if they are okay and if they need anything. But most important, I need to tell them that I am there for them at any time. I know that these words give a little hope during those gloomy days that we feel alone and do not want to talk to anyone.

The experiences of a child in a military family can be bittersweet. It is difficult, but at the same time we benefit. There are those awesome days and also days that you hate, but little by little you get used to them. I do have to say that being a military child has made me stronger and wiser in my short years of life. I am still a child with a loving heart because I have tasted sorrow and I can appreciate the sweetness of happiness.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deployments, By Raven Tomas, Age 11

Being a military child is a great honor, even though we have to face hard trials, like our dads being deployed to different places. One of the hardships that I have faced is my dad deploying to a different place for three months. We lived in Yokosuka, Japan in a tower. We had to say goodbye to each other when my dad left for the ship and sailed off. While my dad was deployed, I mostly played with my little brother, Ryan Kirby, playing the PlayStation 2, which is broken right now, and also sending emails to my dad. When my dad was deployed, I helped my mom do the groceries, helped her toss the trash into the dumpster, helped her clean the car, and many other chores that she told me to do. I also went to school every weekday when my dad was deployed. I had to do my homework before we went to church. My dad said when Ryan Kirby and I were good boys, he would give us a surprise when he returned from the deployment.

I miss playing with my dad. I miss playing with a remote-controlled car with him. I miss playing golf with him after we had done our homework and had some spare time. I miss laughing with him when we or he cracked jokes, and also eating with him in one of my favorite Japanese restaurants. My favorite Japanese restaurant is Ringer Hut, because it has Ramen, fried rice, gyoza, and some of my favorite sauces. My next favorite restaurant is Yakitori, because it has my favorite delicious chicken barbecue. I also like Bamiyan Chinese Restaurant, which has my favorite fried rice, wonton soup, and my favorite chicken.

When my dad was deployed, my aunt sometimes came to stay with us and play with us. My brother and I have a toy that flings a ball into a hoop, which is fun and exciting. My aunt comes to visit us once a month. She helps me get my mind off of my dad. When my aunt is not here, I use my mom's email account to send my dad emails while he is gone. I sent him messages about how I am doing, what I am doing, and how I am doing in school.

After two months, my brother and I could not wait for dad to come back home, because he would be home in one more month! I was so excited. So my brother and I made our Welcome Back Home poster. We also did a countdown when he was almost coming back, from the beginning of the month through the day he came home. My mom, my brother, and I discussed what to do when our dad comes back after deployment. We decided that we would go home and get our presents from our dad first. Then we would go to one of our favorite restaurants and eat one of our favorite Japanese foods that I definitely love to eat. After that, we planned to go home and stay up late, because we don't have school on Saturday. We also planned that we would play and play with dad all night until we felt tired and sleepy. After discussion of what to do when our dad comes back from deployment, we went to bed and fell right to sleep.

When I woke up from my wondrous sleep, I went to school as usual, but today was a very special day. It was Friday, and also the day when our dad came back from deployment! At the end of school, I ran and ran to our home in the tower. Suddenly at the seventh floor, my dad waved to me from the porch! I was so happy to see him! I kept on running until I reached the elevator. I clicked the seventh floor button and waited for the elevator door to open. Once it opened, I ran to the back, and opened the door, and I ran to him and hugged him once I dropped off my backpack! Then my dad said, “I missed you son! I’m glad to see you!” After my dad said that, he gave me the mysterious gift that I was dying to know! The present was a DS Lite, a red colored backpack, and a game called Pokémon Pearl that came with the game. I was very happy to have the presents that my dad gave me! My brother got a blue backpack and five Hot Wheels cars.

I will never forget the day when my dad came back from deployment and gave my brother and me presents and we ate at one of our favorite restaurants. I will never forget anything that happened that day. Once again, being a military child is an honor, and we will no doubt face more challenges and hard trials in the future. Have a great wonderful day!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Being in a Military Family, By Jalynn Poindexter, Age 10

Hi, my name is Jalynn Poindexter and I am going to talk about being in a military family in the Air Force. I have experienced the sad, good, and exciting times. I love the good times and exciting times because they are so fun. I like those times because we celebrate. When we celebrate, we go out to eat then either go home or to a fun place. Those days are super fun.

Being in a military family is kind of a challenge because of deployments, moving, and making new friends. Sometimes the military takes away from your family time, because your parents either get home late or have to work night shift, so you only see them in the morning or when they are about to leave.

It is such a privilege to be in a military family because you go to places other people have never been. It is a very good experience for me. Then you get to teach them something new and maybe even a new language if they want to learn it. The hard part is departing. Leaving behind friends though makes you grow as a person. But when you get to the new place, you get to make all new friends and maybe you can keep in touch with old friends if you are not too busy when you get settled in.

Being in a military family is fun when you get to take those military family pictures and you get all dressed up for them. Also, when they make a higher rank, you get to take pictures with their new rank on. IT IS SO FUN! I love taking pictures when I am dressed up fancy.

The house the military gives you depends on your rank. Some houses are nice and big, others are either medium or small. I am about to move because my father put on E-7 so we are also looking for a four bedroom house, because when you have a child age ten or above, they get their own bedroom. I want my own bedroom because I have to share a room with my sister and our room is a mess, but normally it is because of her.

If you are in a military family, most of the time you go to a DODEA school. I am in a DODEA school because they are marvelous, fun, safe, and big. Next year I will be changing schools and I hope I get to go to the one they just built. Sometimes the food is nasty and sometimes it is good. The teachers are kind and very helpful. The specialist teachers are very polite. I am so happy that I get to go to all these magnificent schools.

My goal for being in a military family is to have courage. I love being in a military family because you have so many different advantages and privileges that other people don't have.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Military Kid, By Alyssa Weeks, Age 11

I was born into a family with two military parents. My mother is a gunnery sergeant and my father is a first sergeant. When people see my parents in their uniforms, you can tell that they think to themselves, "That person is doing their part for this country." But, when I see my parents in uniform it scares me because it reminds me that deployment is still a threat. The last time my dad got deployed was his second time to Iraq. I know it sounds like a little bit of time, but when it happens to you it seems like forever. We dropped him off and it seemed very dry. It was on a base next to a barracks. There was a bus parked on the grass, and families with small children. I felt kind of bad for them. I was older and thought I knew how to handle it. My older sister wore dark glasses over her eyes so my dad couldn't see her emotions, but unlike her, I did not hide it. I would miss my dad. But the biggest thing I would miss would be having the entire family eating dinner together laughing and telling each other stories about what happened that day.

When you are a military kid, you have certain responsibilities to help the parent that is not deployed. One is to try not to cry when you talk to the parent that is deployed. You have to remember to be strong because when you're sad, the deployed parent becomes sad. Take care of all your siblings even though sometimes they aren't the nicest people. One very important one; Listen to your parent. If he or she tells you to do something, you do it. Just try not to get them mad or sad. They are already stressed with things like paying bills on their own or being both mother and father. The days are quiet when a parent is deployed.

Deployments are hard so it is always nice to have someone to talk to. Now everyone knows that there is a very slim chance of a kid talking to the parents about the pain. Usually the child finds a really trustworthy friend and talks to them about the situation. No one wants their friends to see them crying, because most kids think that crying shows weakness. So it is really hard to find a friend to talk to. Every single child talks about this. It is just like a way of life growing up in a military family. When a parent is deployed, some kids hide their emotions by finding a hobby and working on it a lot. Thinking about something else helps with the pain.

When a parent gets orders, it may seem like it is the end of the world, but a good theory is to learn more about the place you are going (like the schools and neighborhoods). It helps get you excited about the move. Talk about decorating your room, because that is what got me excited. Learn about the weather and at least one exciting thing about the new place, like if the weather is sunny and hot, or the beach activities.

When you get to your new place, you will probably have to stay in a hotel for a little bit. When my family was in a hotel, we stopped by the house to check it out. When I saw my new room, I just thought about where everything was going to go. When we went to the store to buy cleaning supplies, toothpaste and food, it helped to pick out some of my favorite things. I loved throwing things in the basket for my room and then getting home and setting everything up.

I was born on Okinawa and have been living overseas for two years now. We have settled in. We all have friends and are happy with our lives. Living overseas is different from living in the States. For example, some places don't have a Walmart, which is terribly sad considering that every single human being gets their stuff from Walmart. Living overseas does have its advantages like you can explore and see what is near your new home.

Even though living in a military family can be hard, you still have a family that loves you. Your family is special, because of what you all do for the United States. And even when it can be sad or challenging, we should enjoy the opportunities to do and see new things because it will not last forever.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Military Kids Speak, By Lauriliz Mulero, Age 13

I, as a military child, have experienced and suffered from my dad's deployments three times. Experiencing this is not easy because no one wants a father to be away. Feelings that I did not think I had just came out of me and I realized that I missed him. The feeling most likely to be found in a military family is sadness. Sadness is not a good feeling because it could lead to depression. I want people to listen to what I have to say and realize what military children go through.

Let me start talking about feelings. People have a lot of feelings. For example, they can feel love, anger, happiness, anxiety, and depression. Military families have all these feelings. In my family, sadness and anxiety covers us like a blanket. Let me talk about sadness. Of course, I could get fat for many reasons, but when my father is leaving for a year, I deal with something else. I need to enjoy that last day with my dad. When my dad is deployed, I feel like I need to prepare myself to take on new responsibilities and become mature and have more courage. But I also hope that his assignment for a year would go by as fast as the wind blows and he would be home.

Right now, anxiety is the most ominous feeling that my family has. I can get anxious for many reasons, like waiting for something special, like birthdays, and other things. But in the case of my mom and me, it is different because we are also anxious and waiting for my father to come back home to be with us. In the past, I have experienced that the day before my dad ended his assignment. A way that I got my head away from thinking about this situation was by reading a book or listening to music. I tried to entertain myself to distract my mind.

One change that exists at our home while my father is deployed has to do with family communication. Unfortunately, this is a situation I'm dealing with now. My mom and I are very good examples of a lack of communication. I know that it is my fault. She is always trying to communicate with me, but I turn away and make her feel bad. I know she misses daddy a lot. Communication is very important in the family, so I really do not want to make the same mistake again. When parents want to talk, we just have to listen to them.

While my dad was deployed, I thought about his safety. I have learned not to think negatively. I think about him being okay and that is what matters. While my dad is deployed, I have to make some changes in my life. I have to become braver, stop being lazy, and take on new responsibilities. I have to learn to be strong about the things that I deal with so I start to think about the future. By thinking about the future, I focus on what my emotions will be when he comes back. That is what I did four years ago when I did not know if dad would return.

During my dad's first assignment, my mom joined the Family Readiness Group. There, they had activities for kids and orientations, too. There, I met kids that understood what I was going through. I was a child that did not understand what she felt about her dad's deployment. But with time, I matured and understood how to support my dad. Then I entered the deployed students’ group at school which helped a lot. I met students and friends that understood what I was going through. We also have field trips and activities to help me deal with my situation.

Having my dad deployed has taught me what to do and where to get help. The counselors at school are always there for me. Whenever I have a problem, I go to them and even if it is a love problem, they help me 24/7. Believe me, if you have a problem big or small, go to the counselors and they will help you a lot.

I dream. I dream, and every day I dream about the day my father returns from his assignment. I dream about everything going back to normal. I dream about happiness and all the wonderful experiences my family has gone through. I dream about my father returning home safely. This is my life as a military child, and I will continue to dream.

Friday, September 17, 2010

School, By Breann Barnes, Age 11

Being in a military family is not ordinary. You have to move around from city to city, school to school and house to house. Many different things happen when you are in a military family and changing schools is only one of those things. I go to school overseas in Sigonella, Italy. School overseas has its ups and downs, but knowing that you can say I lived in Italy or Guam or Japan is a once and a lifetime chance. The military schools overseas are great. They have nice teachers, nice looking classrooms, and a lot of the time, good students attend them.

I truly do not have a hard time making friends, but it is different for everyone. Sometimes it can take people three weeks or two days to make and meet new friends. Sometimes leaving the friends you made is hard, too. If you become best friends with someone and he or she has to leave, you feel emotional. One thing you learn being a military child is that friends come and go all the time. Now we have new ways to keep in touch such as email, Internet and telephone. Sometimes it can be easy or hard to leave or make new friends, but you just have to be flexible.

Teachers overseas are very nice and helpful and understand what it is like being in a school overseas. Coming to Italy and attending middle school was hard for me because it was my first time having different periods in the day. We also have an A day and B day schedule and many people have favorite days. Each school has its advantages. Being a military kid, I feel we go through troubles that may seem easy to a non-military kid like getting lost in the school or having different teachers and having to switch subjects and learn new material in classes. But I don't want you to think it is all a downer living overseas, because it is not. For example, when you live overseas, it is a once in a life time chance because if you think about it, not many kids can live overseas. We are the lucky ones because our mom or dad got this opportunity and it opened new doors for all families; doors to an overseas education that will be remembered forever.

The hardest adjustment is that certain schools teach different materials and have a different focus. In California, for example, reading was very important. In Washington, it was not as important. Math was the hardest adjustment of all because I started in California and when I went to Washington, the math was totally different. My grade in math kept going down lower and lower each day. The teachers would tell me that I should know what we were doing because I should have learned it the years before. I was not there so I did not learn it. They would try to explain and they would believe me, but they can't do too much except teach me.

Overseas some schools will go on field trips and so you could be living in Europe to explore Europe. How many kids can say that they went to school in Europe and they went on a field trip in Europe? Military kids learn a lot in school, but because they do have to move a lot, they learn about courage, responsibility and much more. Kids that are not in the military learn about that as well, but we have the chance to learn it faster and more often.

School is really different overseas because I never had pep rallies or football games when I lived in the United States. Overseas, we have a running club, football, baseball, and soccer teams. There are a lot more school activities and class choices for students to choose from. You can choose to play band, or learn Italian or another foreign language. The schools overseas are a lot smaller compared to when I lived in California. In California, I had over 1,000 kids in my grade school alone. Now there are about 300 kids in grades K-12 so that is a big difference.

Since the school is so small, my classes are smaller and teachers pay more attention to the students. The teachers get to know you and your personality so their expectations are high. Most of the kids at the school are well-behaved, because the teachers know the students well. That is a great advantage for the teachers.

School is difficult, but every time I come across a bump in the road, I always will remind myself living here is a once and a lifetime chance.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Swimming Across the World, By Greta Kinsey, Age 11

I am a military child, but that does not stop me from practicing and enjoying the sport that I love: swimming. I have been in over 30 pools around the world. Some of them, I have been in 200 times, and some only once.

I have moved my whole life. By the age of ten, I was settled into my eighth house. Moving is so much a part of my life, it is normal. I am in the sixth grade and I am in my eighth school. I guess I don't really mind all the moving as long as my new place I call home has a pool and a swim team.

I learned to swim in Alexandria, Virginia. My sister, Halladay, and I were both born in Alexandria. Before my third birthday, we moved to my third house and found a pool in Indian Head, Maryland. My favorite aunt, Aunt Lucy has a house with a pool in Frederick, Maryland. She is my favorite for many reasons, but the pool helps. My second sister, Annika, joined us when we lived in Maryland. She, like Halladay and me, was a water baby. I remember Monterey, California, because there was a pool with a water slide. I learned to love to slide into the water in Monterey, even though we were only there a few months before we moved to Sicily, Italy.

Sicily, Italy is very hot in the summer. Life in Sicily in the summer must include a pool or you will never enjoy the outside. It was in Sicily that I learned how to swim and joined my first competitive swim team.

In Sicily, when we first arrived, there was an old pool with a twirl-ly waterslide. It was very fun, but old and dirty. Soon, the construction of another pool attracted everyone's attention. My dad was the engineer in charge of building it.

After the new pool was finished, my sisters and I were the slide testers. Plenty of workers had tried the two new slides, but the engineers needed to know how far little kids would glide across the water at the end of the slide. My sisters and I, ages seven, five and three, were all strong swimmers, so we tested the slides! We were happy to be the first kids on the new slides.

During our time in Sicily, we met many Italian friends. Most of them have pools at their villas. We were invited to Sicilian pool parties. I remember Italian towns and places I've been by the pools I swam in.

In Sicily, I joined the Sigonella Swordfish, the base swim team. We swam in all home meets that year and even qualified to swim in our first European Championship meet. My sister, Halladay, and I traveled to our first away championship swim meet. That was my first time in a 50-meter pool. My sister and I were both afraid; 50 meters looks like forever if you are seven or five years old. We both swam faster than ever before.

Right after I turned eight, we moved to California. I continued to swim with my sisters. My youngest sister, Annika, who was now five years old, joined us on the Buenaventura Swim Club in Camarillo, California. During the time we lived in California, we raced and played in many pools and on many beaches in Southern California. I remember the towns and cities in California by the memory of the pool or the beach. I even raced in my first triathlons in California. One was in a pool in Santa Barbara. The other one was in a lake in Los Angeles. I remember everything about those races, especially the swims.

It was after the second triathlon that we learned we were moving back to Sicily. Back in Sicily, we gladly re-joined our first swim team, the Sigonella Swordfish. This time, my sisters and I were all older so we were able to travel to England, Germany and the Italian cities of Aviano, Lignano, Vicenza, Catania and Naples for swim meets. I remember the European trips we took by recalling the pool I raced in just before we took off to see the sights, like London, Cambridge, Venice, Pompeii, the Italian Dolomites, German Christmas markets, and the city of Berlin.

My daily schedule in all places is the same. I go to school. I go to swim practice. I eat dinner with my family. I do my homework and I go to sleep. My daily schedule is comforting for me because it is generally the same no matter where I live. I know what to expect. In Europe, I have to travel very far to compete for meets, but I see so many things along the way, it is worth the trip. I have traveled to Naples, Italy, more times than I'd like to recall. I have traveled by car, plane, train (that boards a ferry) and by overnight ferry. I always enjoy the trip regardless of the method of travel and I always look forward to swimming as fast as I can.

Next month, I will travel to Eindhoven in the Netherlands for my third European Champs. I am excited to swim fast and am excited about the family trip in Bruges in the days after the meet. I love the Navy and all the moves, because I travel to places all around the world to do what I traveled there for: to swim.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Dad’s Fourth Deployment, By Trenton Sanders, Age 12

Our family lives overseas on a naval base in Sicily, Italy. I'm 12 years old. In my opinion, a deployment is when my dad goes with a group of people from our duty station to somewhere away from the family. He was on a humanitarian deployment to Nicaragua when I was nine months old. His second deployment was when I was six years old. He went to Iraq. The third one was to Kuwait when I was 10 years old. Soon my dad is leaving for Afghanistan on an Individual Augment or IA. We have been blessed as a military family in that my dad has only been deployed four times during his 16 years of service in the Navy. I have good and bad feelings about the deployment that is ahead for our family. These deployments have affected many parts of my life, but have made me stronger in many ways.

There are certain traditions we do before and after his deployments. First, we have a family meeting discussing our feelings about his deployment. He tells us where he is going and shows us on the map. It helps me to know where he is going to be by physically seeing the location on the map. Another tradition is he takes a picture of himself with me and writes a note on it and gives it to me the day he leaves. Then, for his return, we make signs welcoming him home. We also plan a large trip when he returns. It gives all of us something to plan for when he returns. The last deployment, we went to Paris, France and to Euro Disney. This deployment, we are hoping to go to Ireland.

Another piece of my life that is affected by military deployments is my education. During the second deployment my dad went on, my grades really fell. I feel now I have matured so I am not as emotional and naïve. I have a hard time staying on task when he leaves. My thoughts always seem to wander toward how he is and what he's doing. My mood will change to gloomy and gray. My dad is defending our country in the toughest and most dangerous places in the world while I am attending my classes, doing my homework and chores, and living my day-to-day routine here in Sigonella where I cannot do anything for him.

The separation is a pretty hard thing to get over. Then again, there are good times and bad times when he is gone. Some of the bad times are when we get reminded of his absence. Examples of this are someone asking “Where's your dad?” or thinking “What dad would do?” When he was on his last IA, I got depressed when I looked at the dinner table and saw one plate missing. My dad thinks it is very important for the family to eat together at dinner. Miranda, my six-year-old sister, would state “Where is daddy?” and “I want my daddy home!” in the evenings. When this happens, the three of us get teary and cry. Mom and I tell her that he is coming back soon and he is thinking of her, too. I believe deployments are one percent good in a way. They make me stronger and make me more responsible by assisting my family in our daily routines.

To help the three members of my family get our minds off my dad being deployed, we do fun family activities. To help us keep track of the time that has gone by, we make a paper chain that explains the highlights of each week as they passed by. Another activity is we have family fun nights where we watch movies, play games, or read to each other. Our biggest event is going back to the states during the summer to visit family and friends. Keeping busy with our many events and after school activities assists us in passing the long, hard eight months of my dad's deployment.

In conclusion, this deployment, I feel I am more mature and I have had more experience than other kids. It will still be tough because he will be in an even more unsafe area than any other IA deployment he has experienced. The areas I have talked about in my essay hit me the most when he has gone to wherever.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Living in Germany, By Morgan Stockdill, Age 11

Hi, I'm here to tell you all about the good and bad things that by living overseas as a military child may happen to you. My dad is a 1st Sergeant in the Army and I live in Schweinfurt, Germany. I am a sixth grader in Schweinfurt Middle School, home of the Golden Nights. I am not the coolest person in school, but I am smart. I am an average looking person with brown hair, brown eyes and freckles. I have one younger brother, one older sister and so I'm the middle child. I was born in Fort Polk, Louisiana in 1998 and lived there only one year and then we moved to Fort Benning, Georgia. My brother was born in Fort Benning, Georgia in 2000. We stayed there for almost two years and then moved to Germany in 2001. I lived in Germany nine years and I am still here. It's amazing— Most people move in about three or four years, but I've been stuck here forever. These are a few facts about me and what I'm about to write about. I hope you enjoy my story.

My family and I have traveled to many places around Europe and we even took an 11-hour plane flight to Japan (which gave me a headache). This is one of my favorite things about living abroad. When I go home to the states and tell my cousins about all the places I've been, their eyes like pop out. My cousins told me that they have only been to Florida, Canada, and Pennsylvania, where they live. I thought Columbus showed us that the world is not flat and that you won't fall off the edge if you travel too far. So why don't people in the USA travel on a plane and go somewhere new, so they may even learn something? I’ll bet that many people in the USA don't even leave the continent of North America. Leaving North America is only one advantage of living abroad. While traveling, you can learn about different cultures, customs, and languages. You get to see great things like the Mona Lisa in Paris, the Blarney stone in Ireland, the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Tulips of Holland, Mt. Fuji in Japan, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. All these things I have seen. Do you think that the people in the U.S.A. kind of live in a bubble? Some people think that there is nothing more than where they live and what they have seen. Traveling is my favorite thing about living abroad.

Living abroad is very different than living in the USA. There are many things you have to get used to. While living in Germany, I have learned how to look for certain things. For instance, if I was looking for a gift for my friend, I would have to go the Post Exchange, because over here we don't have a mall, book store, or Toys R Us. We don't get all the products that can be found in the U.S. The people here learn English in school, but sometimes are not the best at it. So when you live here you learn how to speak German also. Staying in touch with friends and family is sometimes a pain in the butt, but we make it. Sometimes I wish that we were in the U.S., but then I remember how many things I love over here.

I would like to tell you about Germany and other ways it's different from the USA. First, all the stores are closed on Sunday and on most holidays. A lot of people ride bikes around here. My dad and I have ridden from my house all the way through Schweinfurt to where my mom works on base (which most of the time takes an hour). In spring, every town makes a May Pole, which is a big wooden pole that shows the different stores that are in the town. In my town, once a May Pole split in half. Schnitzel is a common German food as is bratwurst, which is a sausage-like hotdog. If you came and ate German food, you would never want to leave.

These are a few facts about Germany. Maybe one day you could come here and enjoy these things yourself.

I hope you now understand why living abroad is so cool, fun, fantastic, and awesome. Germany is just one of the places you could be stationed abroad. Living abroad may be full of challenges, but it is worth it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Making Friends, By Johnathan Shelton, Age 12

Because I am a military kid, I know I only have a certain amount of time to make friends. We usually move every three years, so I don't have time to wait. Making friends is easy for me. Every place my family lives, it usually takes me two or three days to make a friend. I usually ride around the area where we are living and try to find a kid that looks my age. I also sometimes hang out with my older brother's friends. The reason I jump right in and try to make friends is that sooner or later, the video games start to get to me.

The hard part about making friends in a military place is finding out how far away they are. Sometimes my friends move before I do. That is sort of hard because then I don't have as many friends left. It is also hard when I move and have to leave my friends behind. For example, when I left Tennessee, I left four friends. It made me feel sort of bad, but I knew I would get over it soon. I think I'm a very good friend because I will help you with problems.

I keep in touch with my friends through email. Sometimes we get to visit my friends in other places and it is always fun to see them. Because I am a military child, I get to meet people I wouldn't have met otherwise.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Happiness, Pain and Tears, By Natalie Herrera, Age 13

"The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." These words were spoken by a Chinese philosopher named Lao Tzu. The life of military children is hard in many ways, but as life goes on, one realizes that this is the life that they were born into and that this lifestyle will benefit them in many ways. This journey will include happiness, pain, and tears. These thousand miles can be the highlight of their lives. The most important way to tackle the journey is to take it one day at a time.

The love and happiness in a military family is so pleasant that I wish it could last forever. Whenever my military parent is coming home and has not been home in a long time, all I have to do is hear the words, "I am coming home today.” This feels like a great relief. It is such a beautiful feeling because I get to see the parent that I love so much. Another beautiful feeling is when I get to go out with my family and just have fun without worries. The joy of being in a military family shines when that military parent takes a vacation. Then they are 110 percent at home where I can play a game without worrying that it will be interrupted by a phone call or an email.

The best part about being in a military family is that I get so many amazing opportunities. For example, I get to go to a special school for military students only. This way I can interact with different kids who experience the same thing I do. It makes me feel that I am not alone in this journey.

But then devastating news comes up and takes away all that happiness and love. When I hear that a parent is going to be deployed to Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, Kosovo, or any other country around the world, emotions begin rushing throughout my body. During the time that I am without my parent that I love so dearly, I have to be brave and try to keep telling myself that he will be back soon. Also, another very painful thing to endure is when your parent is deployed again to another country.

One way of trying to cope with all the feelings going on is to just find a group of friends that you can relate to and go out from time to time and just have fun. One way to do this is to go to the movies once a month, go to the bowling alley, or have a sleepover. It is basically any social activity that will get your mind off all the other stuff happening so you can enjoy yourself. This will bring out the happiness you have stored away and make you want to have fun even if you know that your military parent is away.

The role of a military child is fairly simple even though it can be hard at times. All you really have to do as a military child is to have fun with the times you get to see your military parent. Have fun with your friends. Study hard to get a good career in life. Take responsibility when your parent is away. But most important of all, make your family proud. It takes a lot of guts to come up and be the person in the house which people will rely on to clean the house, cut the grass, cook dinner and so forth.

To be a military child is scary, but living day by day will take you on a tremendous journey. On that path you will be proud to say, "I am a military child and I am proud to be one.” That journey of a thousand miles will slowly fade into a path and then fade into the nothingness. Don't worry about what is ahead in life. Look at what is right in front of your face and go with the flow of the road that is taking you through life.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Deployments Are Hard, By Gabriella Kesterton

In the lives of military children and families, you will most likely encounter a deployment of one or both of your parents. A deployment is where your parent leaves to go to a foreign country to help out in countries like Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It can take months or even a year for your parent to return. My dad has deployed three times in two years! I really felt sad most of the time he was gone in Kuwait so let me tell you about one of his deployments.

It was late October when my dad had left to go to Kuwait. Since my dad is and has been an only father, and since I could not go with him, he had to bring me all the way to Iowa, where my family lived. We were in Rota, Spain at the time; so it was a long flight over to the states! 11 hours of brrrrrrrrrrring on a C-130 was completely annoying and miserable. I had jet lag for a couple days adjusting to the U.S. times.

I was going to live with my aunt and uncle, including my two playful cousins. They were all so helpful in making me feel better about my dad being gone. For instance, after school I would play with them, give them baths, cuddle on the couch, and other stuff. My aunt comforted me when I couldn’t hold in the sadness much longer and my uncle had helped me with school stuff. My grandma and grandpa had helped out, too. My grandpa would sometimes watch the girls and me whenever he could help. Having family there for you is important when your parent is on deployments. A pet being with you helps a lot, too. Trust me! At night, my little dog would cuddle up around my belly and sleep with me all night. He made me feel at home. I made lots of new friends and reunited with old friends from childhood. My dad had been sending gifts and letters, including e-mails and pictures of what was going on in Kuwait. Every day he made an attempt to contact me in some way. I liked that a lot.

Getting into school activities and doing fun stuff can help take your mind off of your parent being gone. I joined basketball and often went to the park, the zoo, swimming, and other fun stuff. You can also write in a diary or journal of your days. Then keep them for memories.

From what I’ve heard, children can sometimes be depressed, hyper, sleepless, and even unbearable at times. It’s usually because your parents are not there and you feel sad, mad, anxious, worried, or nervous. Everyday I felt those same emotions.

Every night I would pray that my dad would be okay, and that tomorrow he would give me a call so I know that he’s all right. Every day I would look forward to his calls, e-mails, letters, and gifts. And almost all the time I thought of him.

There were a few more months left to go and when he came back, we were going to be going to Sicily, Italy. I would have to leave my friends and family, but I would be happy to be with my dad.

When the time nears and your mom/dad comes home, you feel so relieved and anxious. Mostly, you feel joyful. Sure enough, my dad came home after fourteen months in Kuwait and I was happier than you could ever imagine! I’m glad to have him home, and I’m glad that I had family and friends there when he wasn’t. A few weeks later, we packed our bags and said good-bye to everyone. I am so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends with me.

I still keep in touch with family and friends through e-mail and phone calls. Life is different without your family with you, and I sure do miss them. I think it has changed my life by how much closer I am to family and friends. I said that I would be back for 10th grade when my dad retires, so I look forward to seeing friends and family again.

Deployments are hard but you get through them. Just remember that when your parents are gone, they’re still there only far away.

I hope this story has helped everyone in some way with deployments. God bless America and all of the troops out there fighting for freedom.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Moving from Florida to Germany, By Axel Delgado, Age 12

I will never forget the day when my mother asked me if I wanted to move to Germany. I thought she was joking around, so I just started to laugh. But then she gave me that "I'm not joking" look.

That made me ask, "Mom, are you really serious?"

Then she said, “Yes.”

"Why do you want us to move, Mom?"

"Because it will be a great experience to go to another country. Don't you want to go there and be able to experience other cultures?"

At that time, my family was living in Florida and I really liked it there, so I did not want to move.

My mom then showed me many old towns and cool monuments and stuff like that on the computer. She also showed me theme parks and water parks. I had that "want to go / do not want to go" feeling. It was kind of hard to know how I was feeling. I still said no, because I was trying to decide. I went to bed that night with a thousand thoughts of moving and deciding whether or not to go to Germany. The thought was like a thousand bees buzzing inside my head.

I imagined myself walking in the streets of Germany all by myself looking at signs I could not read, and talking to people I could not understand. I also had nice thoughts about it. I thought about visiting places only people thought and dreamed of seeing. When I saw it that way, my mind opened up more. I thought it probably wouldn’t be that bad. I will have to lose some friends for whatever amount of time, but it will be interesting.

The next day, I woke up and saw a beautiful day ahead of me. I made a quick sprint to where my mother was getting ready for work.

"How is my insane little child today?" she asked me.

"I'm doing great", I said, loudly. "Mom, I have been thinking about Germany. I think I have a maybe.”

"That's good, honey. Anyway, if we do decide we want to, we have until December.”

After that, I slowly jogged over to my friend's house thinking, What will Germany look like? The weather? The people? Will there be the same type of cars? Will the language be hard to learn? All these questions would be answered in time.

When I arrived, I found my friends sword fighting in the front yard. The red and purple colors of their light sabers turned into a blur as they continued to fight.

"Hi Brandon and Daniel!" I yelled in great excitement.

"Hi Axel," they yelled back. They both were brothers. The one with the purple light saber was (at that time) nine-year-old Daniel and the one with the red light saber was (at that time) 12-year-old Brandon.

"I have something to tell you guys," I said.

"What?" they asked.

"I might be moving to Germany."

They, of course, said I was crazy so I just told them all the great things that my mom had told me.

"Wow, so they actually have a Lego Land?" asked Daniel.

"Germany has mountains?" asked Brandon.

As I arrived back to my house, I asked my mother how long we would stay if we went to Germany. She said it would be three years. I also asked my mom what job she would have. I found out that she would be a doctor for the Army. She would work there in the day and come off post at night to a house out in the local community. I thought that we would live on the base with the Americans, but we were going to live off base with the Germans. I was very excited by this to know that we were going to live in Germany.

When summer ended and school started, I told my friends and fellow pupils that I would maybe be moving to Germany. They at once all started to laugh their heads off. Then, when they saw what kind of face I was wearing, they all just backed up. Their eyes grew wide as if they were being pinched through the skin.

Soon, a few months later, after all the laughs, the byes, and the cries, which I treasured dearly, we departed. The ride on that plane was the longest ever ridden by me (literally and emotionally). There was some period of time when I hated living in Germany and everyone living in it. I was mad. I wanted go back to Florida to the hot, humid weather and not be in the cold, dry weather. I wanted to see my old friends again. I had no friends here. I thought that no one liked me.

Soon, little by little, I started forgetting my friends and Florida. I started getting used to the weather. I started to get used to being surrounded by military kids. I now see the world as a better, clearer world. All because of that “old” Axel sacrificing friends and everything he knew to come to Germany. That is how I see the world—through the eyes of this new "military-living-abroad" child.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Voice of a Military Child, By Darian Merritt, Age 13

When I first found out that my family and I were moving to Germany, I was shocked, happy, and confused all at the same time. I had never lived abroad. In addition, I never really lived anywhere but Texas for most of my life. My father joined the military just after 9/11 and our first base was Ft. Hood, Texas. My dad was deployed three times from there and asked for orders to Germany, so that we could visit new places. However, that isn't what this paper is about. It is about my life as a military kid.

Being in a military family, a lot of things are expected of you. I grew up doing, feeling, and seeing things some people don't even think about. My father goes to war. At movies we stand for a minute to pay respect and these things become normal to some of us. They became normal to me.

When a parent is deployed, you are expected to step up a great deal more than you're used to. When my dad deploys, for example, I'm expected to do more work around the house, help with my little brother, and anything else that could make things easier for the rest of my family. I, personally, like to keep up with the news wherever I am and where my dad is serving his deployment.

Being in a military family, you grow up learning some not exactly ordinary things. For example, growing up I learned a number of acronyms, like MIA (missing in action), ACU (army combat uniform), and PCS (permanent change of station). We also learn respect for the flag and the United States, and other countries. For instance, before a movie plays on base everyone there stands as the national anthem plays.

Another part of growing up in a military family is that you learn from good examples. The soldiers are dedicated, on time, organized, well-dressed, and wear their uniforms with pride. The military life is also strict. When you get in trouble you aren't the only one who gets the blame. Your parents get the blame as well. You don't just hold your reflection, you hold the reflections of your duty station, your family, and the entire military, too.

School can also be hard at times. Between deployments, moving, and everything else I have going on, it can be hard to think about school work. Sometimes my grades slip because I can't keep on task or keep my mind on topic. It will drift to something completely off topic and ruin my concentration. My mind will drift to my dad in Iraq, or a friend's parent.

Another part of being a military kid is that you get some opportunities other people don't get. One benefit is that when shopping at military shops we don't pay taxes. An additional advantage is educational benefits. Some scholarships are awarded specifically to military families, and a G.I bill could pay for our college experience. In addition, military kids can go to camps specifically for military children, to meet other military children. We also have opportunities to move to places all over the states and places in foreign countries.

Being a military kid can be tough at times, but I think it's worth it in the long run. Military people will always hold a special bond with one another, no matter how far apart. That bond is caused by the unity of us through one common factor that makes such a huge difference in all of our lives, and everyone else's.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Rollercoaster Ride, By Junavy Frianeza, Age 11

My life as a military child so far has been complicated, but at the same time rewarding. When I go to new places and new schools, I always have to adjust and make new friends. I have to learn new things that might be hard or easy for me.

Whenever I move into a new place, I start to feel shy. Being in new classrooms always makes me nervous. Coming to a new school can mean that I don't know what to expect. After a while, though, I'm not “the new kid” and I get used to my new school. I start to “blend in” and I can become myself. Sharing jokes with my classmates starts to become easier. It can be challenging, but in the end I start to like where I am.

Moving around all over the world can be hard, and I have to sacrifice a lot to move to another place. But some advantages to being a military child are that I learn how to adjust to different environments and make new friends. As I go all around the world, I can experience what it's like to be in different places. I've lived in Japan, Europe, and Washington State. Moving and getting used to these different cultures has been painstaking. Coming to a new place usually means learning a new language, getting used to different kinds of weather, and tasting new foods. After a while, it can be fun to live in different places because I get to discover and learn new things.

Some kids from the States might not have learned and experienced as much as I have. Adjusting to new places, fitting into a new school and dealing with being the “new girl” are things that I have learned. I have probably been to many more places than any “normal” person in the States. As a little girl, I have been to Tokyo Disneyland a couple of times. Now, in Italy, I have seen the ancient ruins in Rome.

Part of being in a military family is learning how to sacrifice things that are important to you. A few of the many things I have experienced that are hard for me are leaving friends and places I love. Even from when I was just a little kid, I can still remember the friends I have had. Although it is hard moving around, I still talk and visit some friends from when I was only three years old. I have met friends that like to joke around, friends that understand my problems, and friends that cheer me up in their own, extraordinary ways.

As a military child, I have taught myself to be independent and help myself reach my goals. There have been many situations when I failed, but that never stopped me from trying again. I have the support of my family and friends to help me and they have always encouraged me in everything I do.

My life as a military child is like a rollercoaster. If I'm feeling really sad, my rollercoaster is spiraling downward. But when I'm really happy, my “rollercoaster” of a life is flying upward and I feel like nothing can bring me down.

Because of my experience of adjusting and moving around, I know that I'm probably more mature than other people in the U.S. because I have learned to deal with all the obstacles so far in my life. My life has come with its drawbacks, successes, failures, and achievements. I have been taught to deal with all of those things, and I know that is what makes me a true military child.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Living Abroad, By Brandy Patricia Koslowsky, Age 11

My name is Brandy P. Koslowsky and I am 11 years old. I was born in Yuma, Arizona, on December 21, 1998. In 2000, we moved to Okinawa, Japan. I've lived here ever since. Living abroad my whole life is very interesting. I learn new things every day about Okinawa and its heritage. I get to go to new and very different places. When you are living abroad, you can do many different and exciting things than other people in the world.
One thing I did that other people may not have done is wear a kimono. A kimono is a very fancy dress. Just to tie the dress, you need three ribbons. The fabric is really soft and brightly colored with different images such as flowers, dragon files, and different birds. When you wear a kimono, you usually put up your hair in a very high bun. Kimonos are most commonly used at very special occasions like tea ceremonies and weddings. When I see people wearing kimonos, they look extremely pretty! Another thing I did was go to an underground cave. Once I reached the cave, it was very damp and cold. You will definitely need a jacket. Drops of ice cold water started to drop from the roof of the cave. If one lands on your head, make a wish and for the rest of the day, you will be so very lucky! In the cave, you will see different lakes of water. The water is freezing cold and shallow. In the water, you will see a lot of species of fish, eels, spiders, and scorpions that are running about. When the cave ended, a beam of light hit my eyes. I could barely see because my eyes got used to the darkness of the cave. Going to the caves was very fun! There are a lot of breath-taking places in Okinawa.

When you are living abroad, there are different cultures to learn about. In Okinawa, they have many different foods and techniques to make food. When they eat their food, they only use two sticks to eat their delicious food. These are called chop sticks. When you first use the chop sticks, it is very frustrating and very confusing. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes much easier to use, but be careful. The food could slip! Most of Okinawa's foods are eaten with rice. They also make balls of rice into different shapes, such as triangles, squares, rectangles, and different size balls. Sometimes, my mother makes me a "bento" for lunch. A bento is a lunch that has different things in it, such as rice balls, vegetables, and a different variety of meat. The package the food is put in is a box or a rectangle. After that, the Japanese culture is to rap the box or rectangle in a handkerchief so it is easy to carry from place to place. Bento is one of my most favorite things to eat for lunch. Another kind of food is "ramen" and "soba." Ramen is a long skinny noodle. With the noodles are soup, egg, and different healthy vegetables. Soba is similar to ramen. Soba is a fat, soft, long, and silky noodle. The noodle has soup with it, too. It also has meat, kamaboko, and ginger. Kamaboko has different things in it such as vegetables for adults and pictures of cartoons for children. My family and I eat soba on New Year's Day at midnight. We do this so we can have a lucky year, but if you cut the noodle in half with your teeth before it is completely in your mouth, you will have a shorter life and some bad luck. I would very confidently say that Okinawa's main food source is seafood and rice.

Okinawans speak either Japanese or Okinawan. The Okinawan language is almost a dead language.

In Okinawa, people come and go. I know people that traveled through the original thirteen colonies, London, Paris, and other famous and popular parts and places in the world. They bring different lifestyles with them. Their lifestyles are very interesting. They bring different stories and legends with them, too. They have different accents and foods. They speak and pronounce words a little funny sometimes, but we just smile and say it correctly or "keep on trying, you will get it right.” Living abroad has been an exciting experience for me and my family.

I am proud of my father for serving our country and families. I am proud of the United States military and I am most certainly proud of serving my beautiful country.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Moving, By Emily Parrott, Age 11

Being a military child is unique and has its advantages and disadvantages. We get to have special identification cards at age ten while most non-military have to wait until they are older. We know more about the world than most and can adapt to new situations easily. While most kids usually never set foot outside of their hometowns, we travel all over. But with traveling, comes another experience. That experience is moving. That is what I am going to talk about in this essay.

There are quite a few negative things about moving. But it is part of being a military kid. It is hard to look at it that way, though, when you are actually moving. Sure, you are going somewhere beyond your wildest dreams (or nightmares), but you are leaving friends and possibly family. It is really hard to leave the community that you have worked so hard to fit into. It is a highly frightening experience. "You will make friends when we get there," your parents say, as though you are just walking down the street to visit a family. "It is an adventure!" they declare, "and whether you like it or not we are going!" Yes, moving can be a pain in the neck sometimes, but it isn't going to change anything if you whine.

Though there are lots of bad things about moving, there are also lots of good things about moving too! It is usually fun to move to exotic places. If you happen to move back, you already have friends!

Also, have you ever heard the song that goes "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold?" Well, that song is true. You can still keep in touch with old friends. And new friends are always out there! In school, in the neighborhood, and at activities, new friends are everywhere, waiting for you to discover. If you put yourself forward, anything is possible!

Personally, I have moved five times in the last eleven years. All of those moves have been really helpful to me. For example, moving has taught me how to easily cope with changes like switching houses and making new friends.

The experiences that military kids have give us advantages that don't seem like advantages to non-military kids, like flexibility. Flexibility is important to learn as a child because it helps you cope as an adult. I have learned to love moving because it is something I do every two or three years. For instance, when I moved from Maryland to Sicily, Italy, I was excited to move to somewhere exotic. Plus, I kept in touch with my old friends until I found new ones.

Moving, as I mentioned before, is part of being in the military. It is fun sometimes, but the ups and downs are tremendous. I write this essay in hopes that it will help other kids in the military. I personally think moving is exciting after all the boxes are gone. It quickly becomes a piece of cake and a stroll down Easy Lane with a picnic basket full of fun in your hand.

Though the military is tough, it is part of your life. Just think of all the advantages you have over other kids! You have everything better off than them. You can use your vast knowledge to help! When it all comes down to it, the military life is the choice I would choose to have as a kid. You get to see new places and other new things! The military life lives through thick and thin. So go and get those new experiences!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Guest Blog Post for Memorial Day

On Memorial Day I had the privilege of being a guest blogger on While Victoria is not a military kid, she is an avid supporter of our military members and their families. Victoria is an amazing and talented 15-year-old young woman. I recommend her blog to teens and tweens!

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Loss of Innocent People - A Poem for Memorial Day

By Greta Kinsey, US Navy Dependent, Age 11

The children bid good-bye

To their father on this day

He boards a plane to the war

Where it’s all work and no play

The letters that are passed

Back and forth in the mail

Are reassuring and happy

The kids know their dad won’t fail

Father time drags his feet

The air is filled with wishes

Of the father coming home

With a package of hugs and kisses

Suspension is in the air

Until one month is left

There’s a sigh of relief

From all the hope they’ve kept

With only three weeks left

What can not happen does

The father can not come back

And there is connection loss in love

The family weeps and cries

For mornings, days and nights

The accident is dreadful

Like someone turned out the light

The sadness is a heavy burden

No smiles show for several years

Frowns are shown to everything

And the nights are always filled with tears

Still, the family needs support

This family that's so fine

They'll forever and always be

Strong, after all this time

Written as a gift to the family of a fallen service member. Memorial Day 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Military Child, By Beatrice Greeson, Age 12

As a military child, I believe I have a broader perspective than most children my age. Here in Europe, I've been to many places including Paris, Rome, London, and Venice. I've had experiences that many other kids won't have for a while or might never have; such as seeing Da Vinci's Mona Lisa in person or applying the Italian learned in school and using it the next day in the boisterous food markets to buy fish, bread, and fruit. There are many benefits to being a Navy kid, and some of these benefits are that we are all very close and our experiences prepare us to be successful in the world. Being a military child is hard sometimes, but it has made me a better person.

Naturally, I'm an introvert. I'm usually only my talkative self when I'm around people I know really well. At the Naval base in Sicily, Italy—where I live now—one third of the population moves per year. This means I meet loads of people. It makes me have to work really hard at being more outgoing. Ever since second grade, I have wanted to be a political leader of some kind. Being outgoing is definitely a trait that a politician—or leader of any kind—should have. I try to be a leader in as many ways as I can; at school, in swim team, and during church. I think this helps prepare me to be a leader because as a leader, whether you are the President of the United States or a Red Cross volunteer, you will probably have to go outside of your comfort zone.

Take former Secretary of State Madeline Albright as an example. She learned how to hold onto herself even when she was uncomfortable. That is a very important quality in a leader. Leaders should not be phony, but themselves, or as much as themselves they can be in public.

Being in a military community brings people closer together. I had a friend who was sick and in the hospital. Of course, her best friends and family were concerned, but people who she had talked to all of twice would come up and make sure she was okay and give her flowers. This proves that living on a base is like living with your whole extended family. They all care about you, and especially overseas in Sigonella, where there aren't that many people, they all know you, at least by sight. When I was in Kindergarten and first grade, and my dad was deployed to Iraq, my teachers were really supportive and knew how I was feeling. When my friend's dad was deployed, the base gave their family a packet with things like vouchers to the bowling alley in it.

If you compare me to the average American kid, I have a huge advantage as a Navy dependent. I have so many benefits. Military children are much more outgoing, because we have to move every couple of years, and always meet new people. This prepares us for the outside world. Also, we have strong ties with our peers. People in the military are very close because we have all been in similar situations to each other. There are only a couple of hard aspects, such as facing people with stereotypes against us. My message is this: being a military child is hard, but it is definitely worth it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Feelings to Inspire, By Amber Jordan, Age 11

In writing this essay, I will share my experience of being a military pre-teen, and the ups and downs we have known, and will come to know. I want to share my feelings with you and encourage you to see things optimistically, but with the needed touch of reality. I reach to inspire all of us to get through the pressure, restraint, and commitment it takes to be a child of a Military member. I will tell a few stories (along with some interesting points) that will help. Hopefully, my experiences are useful to those in need of help, advice, or those curious to read an autobiography of another kid with whom you have something in common.

First Move and Deployment

I turned four, and had recently finished preschool in Odenton, Maryland. Being so young, I don't remember much except that my older sister cried when Mom told her we would be leaving our cozy townhouse to a one-story house in Florida. She was extremely upset to leave her friends. That is how it is for many kids, once we fully understand. We don't want to leave our friends, schools, and comfortable homes that we were once probably able to walk through blindfolded. Mom was very understanding through all this, and tried to put our interests elsewhere; towards slightly more positive thinking. Moving may seem like a horrible fate, but you could focus on the positive things just as my mom did. You could focus on being able to start over your reputation, meet new people, regain a social life, refocus on school, or being able to get a new look and personality without the awkward questioning from your friends.

When we moved to Florida, my Mom said we would still visit relatives. Uncle Joe and Pop-Pop came down to fish in our own lake. We also had our own pool that we could swim in as long as it was at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit. My family became excited about our neighborhood.

Dad was gone a lot, and of course, I did not want him to leave. One time, he had to go to four different countries: Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, and Afghanistan. I kept blocking the front door. At first Dad smiled, but after a minute or so, Mom had to come and pick me up. I cried for some time. When your parent deploys, picture this: He is going for you, your family, and your country, or possibly for distressed people in a poor third or fourth world country. Dad was gone for five months. After six years, my family still has that black and white photo taken when Dad came off the plane from Iraq on a living room shelf. I feel we should cherish our time with our military parent and be proud when they go out and serve for us and our country.

First Plane Ride

I was scared to fly, and didn't enjoy crowds or loud noises. An airport and airplane ride, you could say, was my worst nightmare. Mostly, we stayed connected with Mom by hand, and when we were hungry let Dad know, so as soon as possible, he stopped at an A&W or McDonalds. Flying is an important aspect of being in the military if you are going to move cross country, or to a foreign land. You have to stay close to your parents, and stay cooperative and flexible. Our second flight was delayed by a storm, and we had to lounge in an airport waiting room for hours. We did complain for a bit, then settled down and took advantage of the quiet and peaceful time to rest.

I loved that rush of speed on our airplane, but after that, was very uncomfortable and bored. Mostly, we colored in coloring books, watched Disney Channel, and read picture books that we had brought in our bright, red, yellow, and blue carry-on duffel bags. Finally, when it was time to land, we were tired, curious, and anxious.

We didn't know different American restaurants. Again, adaptability and flexibility are required. My mom watched a friend's middle-school aged kids in the mornings and afternoons. We had to be welcoming, and lost some of our privacy, and even more space. Another harrowing part of being in Okinawa was that we learned very soon after arrival that we would be moving back to Maryland in nine months.

Present Day

Now, five years after my first tour in Okinawa, I am living in larger, more private quarters here. But, this luxury comes with Dad being very busy, and having a Blackberry that rings a lot. Dad has to take care of all of his young Marines, which is a hard job, and he is stressed sometimes. At those times, I keep my room, and the family keeps the kitchen as clean as possible, which brightens Dad’s day. Soon, he will not have to take care of camp affairs, and not go to festivals at least once a month. It will be nice to cherish and spend that time with Dad. We will continue to do that when Dad turns over his command, just like when he returned from his deployments to Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, and Afghanistan.

How I Picture My Future

In the future I hope to achieve many goals. I will need good grades, especially in language arts, reading, science, and math. I plan to be in the Marine Corps, and at the same time, during free time or when I retire from the Marine Corps, I will be an author. Already I am reaching this goal to be an author, and I am reaching to keep a good grade in math class. I have always wanted to be a Marine like my Dad, whom I always look up to as a mentor. I want to live up to the name Devil Dogs, which US Marines were tagged as after a ferocious battle in World War I. I want to follow in my dad’s footsteps not because of pressure, but because I want to serve my country. This commitment feels right to me, and I know I can do it.

I remember one day that I read a sign out loud that had The United States Marine Corps on it. Instead of pronouncing Corps as "Core", I pronounced it as "Corpse". My dad corrected me. This discipline and help will have to come from my dad if I want to be a Marine, and if I want to have honor, courage, and commitment.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Helping Hands = Making a Difference, By Lauren Anderson, 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!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Volume, By Gabrielle Marchan, 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.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Essay of a Navy Kid, By Victoria Baker, Age 11

All people are different. We all come from diverse backgrounds and have different experiences that form who we are. Children who have parents in the military, although still different, all have similar experiences that help us grow as individuals. These experiences include: moving, making friends, dealing with a parent’s deployments, staying organized, and always being ready for the next move. These experiences are difficult, but military kids are able to handle these things after doing them so often. What you learn from these experiences doesn’t define who you are; they simply give you the confidence to let your true personality shine through.

One thing you do often as a military kid is move. Moving is difficult, even for the most experienced military kid, and I should know, I’ve moved six times! Military kids can adjust to just about any location around the world and have a wealth of knowledge because of these moves. I have lived in almost every corner of the United States. When you move around so often, you get used to traveling, and get to see just how beautiful our country and this world is. It’s something I have truly come enjoy. Moving into a new school and town can be hard but it has become enjoyable for me because I know exactly what to do, and feel excited about a new chance to make new friends. Moving has helped shape who I am, because I have learned about so many different places and have developed ways to make friends more easily.

Organization is a helpful trait you learn as a military kid. When you move so often, it is important that you keep everything around you neat and orderly. Organization isn’t just about your possessions; it’s also a mindset. You are not just organizing your things; you are also keeping your life orderly. How exactly do you “organize” your life? I would recommend focusing on the things that are important to you, and then prioritizing them. I always found it helpful to make lists of things that are important to me. You can usually focus on what’s important to you if you write it all down on paper. Managing your stuff can be just as simple. My Dad always said, “A place for everything, and everything is in its place.” This is a really good rule to follow when trying to organize your things. Organization isn’t just a trait that will be beneficial while you’re a military kid; it’s a trait that will serve you throughout your life.

Since I have moved so often many positive things have happened. The one thing I wasn’t expecting is that my younger brother and I have become very close. I think the reason is, when you move from one place to another, you don’t know anyone when you first get there, and because of this we really have to rely on each other. My brother and I help each other and have fun. My brother is especially good at making friends and I learn from him, just as much as he learns from me. Like all brothers and sisters, we have our “moments,” but we are good friends, and help and support each other when we need it. I feel very fortunate to be so close to a sibling, because I know that lots of kids are just the opposite. My brother and I are both military kids and are learning from our life lessons together.

Deployments are the hardest part of being a military kid. Your Mom or Dad has to go far away for long periods of time. It is incredibly sad to say “good-bye” to a parent that you love, but you are able to handle them being away by writing emails, letters, and keep in contact as much as possible. One thing my Dad always said that helped me was; “Know that I’m always thinking about you every second of everyday.” It feels good to know that someone is thinking about you all the time! It’s a big job for my Mom, too because now she has twice as much to do. When my Dad is away on deployment, it’s up to my Mom to handle many of the things that my Dad would normally do. Taking out the garbage, fixing the car, and maintenance around the house are just a few of the extra things my Mom has to deal with while my Dad is away. It’s a big job for her, but I try to help my Mom in any way I can. Some examples of the way I help are by feeding and walking our dog, making sure I am ready for school on time, helping in the kitchen, and studying extra hard for my tests. Because of this we get along quite well, and when my Dad comes home, I continue to handle the same responsibilities. Every time my Dad goes on deployment I learn so much about life and the responsibilities that go along with growing up.

All military kids are different and have different personalities. The common experiences of growing up in a military household help us grow as individuals. Moving, and dealing with my father’s deployments have helped me as a person because they have taught me important lessons. These lessons include courage, responsibility, and organization. I’ve gotten a lot closer to my brother and I can relate to him more than I ever thought possible. Growing up as a Military kid can be difficult and hard at times, but the experiences I have gained will help guide me towards a successful future.


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 and 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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