Sunday, February 27, 2011

Life as a Navy Kid, By Victoria Baker, Age 12

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 to 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 in that 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 says, “A place for everything, and everything 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 keeping 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 every day.” 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.

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. 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.

About Victoria Baker

Hello! My name is Victoria Baker and I currently live in Woodbridge, VA where I’m in the 7th grade. I love to write and have even been published in the newspaper before! My Dad is a Commander in the United States Navy. We’ve moved around a lot. In fact, we’ve lived in five different states! I decided to write in the “Military Kids Speak” essay contest because I like to write, but mostly because I can relate to many other kids out there and I want to let them know that we all share a lot of the same experiences.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On the Navy's Wings, By Camila Arzola, Age 11

Life as a military kid isn't easy, but as with all things, it has a positive side, too. Looking over at the negative side just impresses people more. So on the negative side, you must move every one to three years, and let go of people you love. On the positive side, you'll see and meet people and places so magnificent, you can scan a history book saying “been there, done that.” Occasionally, you might just become a beloved history teacher's pet. You'll be able to impress all your teachers with your never-ending experiences. Just keep your mind open to all people and sights. See beyond the challenges.

Moving overseas is highly recommended. It's an awesome opportunity to travel to exotic places. Europe is probably the best place to move to for it holds some of the treasures of the world. France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, the Alps, Egypt, Turkey, and England are easy made destinations overseas. I've been to so many places, I just can't count them unless I'm some type of super genius. Let's just say I've been from Monaco, to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to Pompeii, to Germany, and Turkey! The weird thing is, I haven't been to Disney or Six Flags or even Bush Gardens!

The best place I've been to is Turkey. People there are so sympathetic and kind; it's hard not to call them “sister,” “uncle,” or “auntie!” Some are quite persistent at making business, though. To make the salespeople go away, my family dressed up like the locals and we—the girls in my family—put shawls over our heads just like a nice storekeeper showed us. It was the best experience I ever had. We also went to the Hagia Sophia, an old monument that was first a catholic church and then transformed into one of the largest domes in the world and into a mosque. We also entered the blue mosque, known for the beautiful tiles used on the ceiling. I learned a lot about the Muslim religion and how girls are separated from boys so often. As my family entered the mosque, the whole thing was allowed to be seen by boys, but only a fraction of the whole thing allowed girls to be included.

The military is also a great place to make friends all over the universe, or just the world! As you move, you might notice your buddy list getting enormous. Do not panic; you will survive this experience of “address-explode-yculus.” Just calm down and get a new address book, yours might be exploding. Also remember to contact your close friends by phone, email, or Facebook. Remember time zones when trying to call or else your friend might ignore you for calling them at two in the morning. Please remember, without friends, we might as well be mindless clones. Friends make life more enjoyable and bearable. True friends stick by your side even if you're a million light years away.

Another big deal in military life is deployment. Deployment can be the most worrisome event in some people's lives. Dads are the one's who usually get deployed. If you're lucky enough, your dad will only be deployed up to twelve months. That doesn't mean you lose hope if your dad gets deployed for years in a dangerous place. Most come back from one of the most terrible things in the universe—war. If your dad is in war, send him letters letting him know your prayers are with him and you're always there for him.

Overall, military life is difficult for people of all ages. The sacrifices may be immense, but it also has fabulous opportunities. Like everything, it has it's up's, down's and slopes to deal with. Just avoid the slopes and look up. This goes with everything in life. Good luck!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Living in a Military Family – Making Friends, By Tajiana Beard, Age 11

It was the end of the 2008 calendar and the middle of the school year. I was in a new community and felt scared walking into my new class. I knew nobody and had no friends. I kept telling myself not to be scared and that it will be okay. As the day went on, I made more friends and I wasn't nervous anymore. I ended up having a nice teacher and great friends. I might have had a great school, but I just didn't feel safe at home. I liked the house, but for some reason, at night time I just couldn't sleep. I think it's because I didn't feel safe. I was just so used to my old house and my old room. For a while, I hardly slept at all. Sometimes I would just sleep on the couch.

Living in a new house wasn't the worst challenge. The hardest thing was getting to know the people in my neighborhood. At first, everyone was staring at me and I could hear people giggle at me when I walked by. Now, I have lots of friends. I actually made friends really fast, but I was just so scared. I usually am not shy, but I didn't know anybody. I started playing outside a lot and made lots of friends. I was still the new girl at school and everybody stared at me. I wanted to move back to my old school where everybody knew me.

This year, I had a new girl in my class. She was really quiet and I knew she felt like I had last year, so I started to talk to her. Her name is Payton, and now she's one of my friends. When I met her, I knew I wasn't the only one who has been the new girl who knew nobody.

Right now, everything's fine with me. For example, I have lots of friends. However, when I move again, all of this is going to start all over. I do love moving, but I hate leaving my school because I usually leave in the middle of the school year. I totally hate the thought of leaving my friends because I will miss them so much.

There is one thing that is good about moving. The good thing for me is getting to see all the different cultures because they're so cool and different and unique. Right now, I live in Japan and I love it. It is so beautiful, especially the seawall, because the waves are so cool. I love swimming in the ocean because it feels so good. The hiking trails are so beautiful, too, because of the awesome view. This is the first country out of the United States that I have ever lived in and that I have ever even visited. It's kind of weird that it's the only country that I have been to because I am in a military family.

I love it in Japan, but I miss my family and friends back home so much. I still talk to my friends in Texas and my family in Nebraska almost every day. I either email them or I call them on my Vonage phone (that I love). They always ask me when I am coming back to Texas and I always have to tell them "not for a very long time.” It was really hard on me to leave all of my friends behind. I have lots of friends here, but I will always remember my friends in Texas and they will always have a special place in my heart and mind. When I move away from Okinawa, I will make sure to stay in touch with my friends because I want to remember them just like I remember my friends from Texas.

When I first moved here, the only place I really found to make friends was at the Kadena Youth Center. Most people were really nice there and I always had fun. I joined clubs and helped the community by picking up trash and by doing lots of different other things. Almost everyday after school, I would walk to the Youth Center with my friends and sometimes we would stop by the Non-Commissioned Officers’ Club on the way and get a snack. I really love going to the Youth Center because I could have fun and hang out with my friends. It was also great because my mom couldn't pick me up after school, so I had somewhere to go and I didn't have to be home alone.

Being in a Military family can be really hard, but when you have friends, it makes it way better. If I didn't have friends, I don't know what I would do. I am going to have to leave my friends, but I know that when I move again, there will be new people there, and most of all, there will be new friends and a chance to make many new memories.

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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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