Monday, February 15, 2010

The right kind of help to military families (Babble)

It’s important to acknowledge when people do something right, and I want to take a second to point out an organization for helping military families that has been helpful to us.

There is a group called ‘Our Military Kids’ that recently provided my girls with a grant to help pay for some of their violin lessons.  One of the soldiers my husband is serving with told him about it and said we should look into it and I’m glad I did.  Essentially what they do is provide money to families for specific activities for kids of deployed service members.   The application process isn’t hard and they send a check directly to the activity.  I always appreciate any organization that allows individual families to tailor the help that’s offered in a way that suits them.  ‘Our Military Kids’ lets you pick the program and send in the information for approval, which is much better than deciding all families need (fill in the blank with a one size fits all idea).

I think this is wonderful, because keeping kids active and involved in something that interests them is the best kind of distraction from the worries associated with deployment.  It can be sports or art or knitting, classes, private lessons, camp–doesn’t matter.  Our Military Kids has awarded grants to over 14.000 kids so far.  I’m sure for many of those families that grant was the difference between their kids feeling stressed and their kids feeling empowered.

I’m not a clever blogger so I don’t know the trick to embedding a link in a word, so here is the site if anyone is looking for a good organization to donate to:

I also want to make a shout out to the YMCA which provides military families with free basic memberships while a soldier is deployed.  We don’t get out to the Y as often as we should, but it’s nice to have as an option.  There are days when it’s too cold to go out and play and I don’t want them bouncing off our walls, so we sign out a racquet ball court and they bounce off those walls.  I get each kid a racquet and a ball and they go nuts for an hour or two.   (Or until mommy is tired of getting bonked in the head.)

I think there are good lessons to be learned for all families about dealing with stress from those of us dealing with deployment.  All of us have to deal with a ceratin amount of stress sometime.  We don’t ignore our situation, but we don’t wallow in it.  I remind my kids they can talk to me.  I let them comfort me when they are able.  Most of dealing with stress is finding ways to take control of something.  (Although, weirdly enough, sometimes admitting you have no control feels like taking control.) 

When my kids are busy being creative they are happy.  I find as many ways as I can to make their world predictable and secure so their dad’s absence isn’t frightening.  Weekly violin lessons help with that by creating a regular routine where they see progress in their abilities, and playing music is absorbing.  We are extremely grateful for the grant that helps make that possible.

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