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.

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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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