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 Pok√©mon 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.


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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