Blue Star Moms – the Month of the Military Child
Reaching Out to the Community
One of the services that we promise to provide as a member of the BSM is to educate, another is to support. While we as parents have always done this for our own children, not all of us have done this for others. It’s just not an easy thing to do, to reach out when you, yourself are hurting inside. I find that this is my own way of healing and dealing. Healing the hurt of not having my “baby” with me because he is stationed elsewhere and dealing with the worry, hurt and anger that I feel some times about his being in harms way. Many times we don’t want to give voice to what we are trying to deal with, and it’s damned hard to recognize that we cannot protect those who we have carried for 9 months. That’s why, when I received an update from militaryHOMEFRONT regarding April being the Month of the Military Child, that I decided to request the DVD’s from them (free) to share with my granddaughters.
I wanted them because my oldest granddaughter had asked her Dad just before he left for his first sandbox tour, “what if you die? What will I do?” And for the other two, one who began bedwetting because her sister started Kindergarten and having one more person “leaving” and being separated from her was more then she could take at the time. I wanted to help them be able to see that they are not alone, that other childrens daddies and mommies were not at home too.
Little did I know that so much more would come of this.
After emailing for the free DVD’s, I received an email from, and later had the pleasure of meeting Col. Patrin, MIL USA MEDCOM CMONT one of those who has worked so hard with Maj Lemmon (and many others) to create these free DVDs for the children (and families) of the deployed and who is trying to get the word out about them. My mind began going into overdrive when I started to think of how useful and far reaching this could go in my own hometown. Beginning with just 3 little girls, reaching out to local schools, counselors, mentors, FAMILIES!!! The list is practically endless as to who should & needs to view these DVDs. We are all affected by what is happening, as adults we are able to express how we feel, sometimes effectively and other times, well, not as effectively as we would like. But, imagine being 4 years old and not being able to see Dad or Mom and not really knowing why they are gone or where they are at. Or being 12 years old and having to take on chores that used to be taken care of by one of your parents, as one young man states “having to man up”. Or being a young child or teen and hearing your Mom cry when she thinks you don’t hear her and not being able to help console her, feeling helpless and defenseless. That is what our children and grandchildren are going through, we are not the only ones.
Our BSM’s previewed the teen/young adult video last night. What struck me was that all of the children interviewed in the teen/young adult DVD expressed the same feelings that we, as parents, have given voice to when we reach out to each other. Yet, they hold it in, feeling that they are alone in one way or another while their parent is deployed. I don’t know why I was surprised. Believe me, as a former Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, School Bus Driver and youth camp director, not to mention a MOM, I know when a child is not happy. Finding out what they are unhappy about however, is not always easy. Getting to know them can be a struggle if they don’t want to let you in. But, it is up to all of us, as members of the military community to seek out these families with children of the deployed to help them through this difficult time in their lives. To connect with each other as well so that we stay healthy, physically, mentally and emotionally.
What even surprised me more was how it affected our Moms who were previewing the video. An awareness dawned on all of us, that maybe, we could do something to help our military families with children. It opened up discussions about how we feel as well. My proposal to them was to ask them if they would be willing to work with me in educating our community, carrying forth our mission to help not only our Troops but those courageous ones left behind. So that is what we will be doing during the Month of the Military Child and beyond, we will be helping in any way we can, to educate the community through the use of these DVDs and their handouts and promoting other programs that are available like the Operation Purple Camp.
I believe in the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” If we don’t help to ease the minds of our Soldiers while they are away from home by helping to care for the most precious people in their lives, who will?