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.

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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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