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.

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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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