Hey, guys… Hello? We’re here. Right next door. We are your neighbors! You see us every day, and—guess what—you even talk to us casually at the grocery store.
Want to know something… we want to make friends in our neighborhood. It’s not easy always being the new family around. It takes us a little longer to settle in and relax.
Well, we have been living in our home for 4 years now, and it is only now that we are starting to feel comfortable. Yes, that’s just about right for any family… the only thing is that we will be uprooted once again. Just knowing that the place you are in is only temporary is stressful. It is stressful for adults and children. Changing work, starting a new school, and leaving friends do not exactly get easier with time.
Having lived through these transitions, I know how hard all of it can be. So, I’m going to share five ways civilian families can better connect with the military families in your community, so everyone can feel a little more at home.
WELCOME NEW MILITARY FAMILIES TO YOUR SCHOOL.
Schools must be aware of our military children. More times than not, our kids are switching schools and leaving valuable friendships behind with no choice. When families, specifically kids, feel welcomed in their new schools, the transition is easier. Talk with your kids about how they may befriend a military child one day… and prepare for the day when that child may move. Friendships can out last moves—our kids enjoy having pen pals!
BE PATIENT AND UNDERSTANDING WITH SCHEDULING.
Our schedules change often and working hours vary for many military families. With strict schedules for the service member, school schedules, everyday life, and a civilian work schedule, calendars are full. Yes, even during a pandemic. We do not like changing plans, but it happens just like anyone else; sometimes, service duties get in the way with long hours and extended deployment dates.
BEFRIEND US, I PROMISE WE WON’T BITE!
I mean that. We truly enjoy making new connections and learning the ways of the new location. Connecting with the ones around us is the easiest way to feel accepted.
BE READY FOR TEARS AND QUIET DAYS.
There are lots of tears in the life of the military family. Lots of days away from our loved ones and many days of confusion for the kids. Don’t try to compare a weekend work trip to a 3-week to 9-month work-up or deployment. It’s just not the same; communication is often limited and safety is unknown. Please, just be there to listen, especially on our hardest days.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, BE READY TO JOIN OUR FAMILY.
That’s right when you befriend a military family you become family. Most times, we do not have family near, so we create our safe place with our closest friends. Meaningless friendships are not worth our time, so we give a great deal of our hearts to the ones closest to us at our home away from home.
Military life holds a lot of highs and lows. I hope this article makes it easier to connect with us. If you have a military friend, call or text them and let them know you are always there.