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.

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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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