Keeping up Morale- Mama Bear Style
Morale … you know your soldier … you can detect his/her mood in a message or the tone of their voice and you know that they’re down … the traveling px is there, but finance didn’t come out first … everyone is out of money and out of smokes (now I don’t want him to smoke, but understand that it’s the stress relief that he needs). The mail gets messed up – packages that are addressed correctly are returned to their senders, mail sent home takes months to get there. We want their heads to be in their job. We want them to be ON – really ON – and sharp! We send letters, funny cards, pictures, and packages. We send crazy stuff like Christmas trees and dart boards, and camping cooking forks with supplies to make s’mores … all to boost morale … for our soldier and all the guys in his tent.
As a parent you sometimes feel a bit out there because you’re not on base or near the FRG. I’m so thankful for a fantastic company FRG leader who keeps us in the loop. I, also, joined a Military Family Support Group near my home, almost twelve months before my son deployed. My motivation was to learn how to support my son’s wife before, during and after deployment – and of course to support my son. I had no idea how valuable this group would be to me. Our facilitator is in close contact with chaplains of several groups of deployed soldiers – all branches of the military. Our group is composed of parents, spouses, children, grandparents, friends, and troops who have returned home from deployment. When our facilitator gets word that there are troops who are not getting mail or packages from home, we ‘adopt’ them and send cards and boxes that say “we appreciate you and the sacrifices you are making for all of us.” Our efforts are to keep morale up and to let those troops know that what they are doing is important and appreciated by people back home.
I joined USO to help troops and their families as they travel and I’m very proud of my local USO because they’re committed to keeping it open 24/7. The Maine Troop Greeters were so amazing to our troops as they were going over and I just wanted to ‘pay it forward’. These things help MY morale and if I keep my morale strong, then I am better able to work on keeping my soldier’s morale up.
It’s scarey to hear our soldiers are down – no, they don’t say so – they NEVER would, but you hear it between the lines in the ‘tone’ of their message – or their voice if you can get a phone call. NONE of the things that get him down are within my control… as much as I would like to … I cannot correct the mail problems – or – ‘suggest’ that finance might make trips out to the FOB more often – at least before the traveling px comes. I’m a LOYAL Army Mom! But I’ve been a Mama Bear longer than I’ve been an Army Mom. Our deployed sons and daughters need to find home stable and strong when they communicate with us. They need us ALL to work together … it’s about morale … it’s about fighting the fight, they fight over there, we fight over here … it’s about keeping them focused on their jobs and staying focused on ours … and it’s about bringing them all back home – safe and strong!
Signing off – One Army Mama Bear