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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