I remember the first time I heard the term “military brat”. I couldn’t figure out why kids would willingly call themselves a brat. Growing up if you were called a brat, that meant you were not a very nice child. That’s certainly not something I would have wanted to be identified as, nor would I have called myself that. But now that I have my own “military brats,” I understand the term. Meant in an endearing way and earned through great sacrifice. These kids are stronger and more giving than many adults I know.
When I married my husband and became a military spouse, I thought long and hard about having children, and what effect this life would have on them. Why would we want our kids to grow up in the military? How could my husband be willing to leave the kids for months at a time? What if one of our kids wanted to follow in his footsteps? I asked myself those questions many times, but our choice of becoming a military family felt so right for us. Looking back now, there are so many positives that this life has brought into our children’s lives.
Military Brat Realities
Strength – Our kids have become so much stronger due to the military. They know what it means to sacrifice and they give 100% of themselves to help others. Of course the kids are upset when daddy leaves, but they understand that he has an important job to do when gone. They never ask why their daddy has to be gone for so long, they step up and help out as much as they can. A humbling feeling to see my children, ten and four, stand tall and proud as they watch their daddy in uniform walking away.
Appreciation – Having appreciation for family is something that our children have gained from our time with the military. They know that at a moment’s notice, their daddy could be called away for duty. They also know what it is like to go for months without having their daddy around, so when he is at home they are grateful for the time they have with him. This past summer we were blessed with a family vacation of a lifetime. We took a Carnival Cruise to Turks and Caicos, Half Moon Cay and Nassau Bahamas. The children were beyond ecstatic. We had not been able to take a vacation like this all together for quite some time. In our home, if daddy isn’t around – we don’t take trips. Mainly their rule. The appreciation was in their faces the very moment we left. A week alone on a ship, just the four of us. They don’t take for granted the time we get together as a family, a characteristic that I hope will continue in them throughout their lives. A trip they are still talking about.
Patriotism – Lastly, and perhaps the greatest of them all. Love and pride for their country. They stand tall, with their hands over their hearts, reciting the National Anthem. They know how blessed they are to live in this country, and that kids just like them in other countries do not have the opportunities and the freedoms they are given here. They know those freedoms do not come free and look up to people, like their daddy, who work hard to ensure that they can enjoy the freedoms that come with living in this great country.