By Judy Davis
The Direction Diva
Acronyms aren’t the only thing we need to learn when we become a military family. From deployment to frequent TDY assignments there are strategies that help us manage the home front when our spouses are gone. There are tips and tricks we learn for moving and re-integration. And sometimes even the best thought out plan ends in disaster.
I’m a believer in concepts like “it takes a village” and “I get by with a little help from my friends”, but I’m also someone who encourages and lives by a few unwritten rules when it comes to being a military family.
I will preface this with saying that there are times when life just hands you lemons and we get in over our heads. I’m not talking about those times or to those people who find themselves in a pickle through no fault of their own. And I do think that there are moments when it’s acceptable to play the Military card. But all too often members of our community use the fact that they are military times when it’s completely unacceptable. As always take what you need and leave the rest ;)!
Here we go:
3 Situations Where You Should NEVER Play the “Military” Card
1. As an excuse for your child
There is honor in being a military kid, and whether they should be called BRATs or CHAMPs isn’t a debate I choose to participate in. However when your child doesn’t have respect for you or those around you, interrupts during the National Anthem and is running around unattended in a public place we have a problem. I get that you are tired of being the equivalent of a single parent, I understand that your child may be having a difficult time adjusting to a new duty station or deployment and I’ve been there through many a tantrums in a grocery store. That is NOT what I’m talking about. EVERY kid has an off day, or a period of time where they have difficulty and those situations are exempt from this discussion. What I’m talking about is the lack of simple discipline and teaching your child how not to be a spoiled, rotten and obnoxious brat. Put down your cell phone and pay attention to your kids. Model behaviors you want them to have and address their needs. And if it becomes too much get some help and support. No one said parenting was easy and being part of the military community does make it more challenging, but it’s not an excuse. PLEASE stop using the military life as the only reason for your child’s bratty behavior because trust me it’s not.
2. To clean up a mess you created
There is nothing that frustrates me more than seeing a military family who made some irresponsible choices begging for someone to fix or help them out of their current crisis “because they fight for our country”. Your children probably wouldn’t be hungry or need diapers if you hadn’t spent most of your paycheck on alcohol, that “must have” Kate Spade purse or that new big screen TV. And while we are talking about it, no one else bought the car you can’t afford… you did that all on your own without thinking through how it would affect your ability to make ends meet. Here is a newsflash, ACS, the civilian community, charitable organizations and local food banks don’t owe you anything. In fact they are there because they want to help out when service members are faced with unexpected and overwhelming situations that put a hardship on their family. They are not there to supplement your irresponsible behavior or provide you with freebies and handouts just because you serve. Please understand that every time you cry for help for something that is a result of your poor choices you are taking from those families who have a real need.
3. For an Unrealistic/Self Imposed Entitlement
Who doesn’t like a discount or a perk every now and again? I know I do, and I see nothing wrong with asking if a merchant offers a military discount. What I have a HUGE problem with is the attitude that often results if the said discount isn’t what some in our community feel is fair or up to snuff. No one owes us a discount or perk at all. In fact the only thing you are entitled to as a military family are the benefits provided to you by the DoD. So IF a merchant chooses to give a discount, or an organization is generous enough to sponsor an event or activity for your child, be grateful for whatever it is. They have a right to decide who, when and how much they are willing and able to give and they don’t owe you ANYTHING.
I wish I didn’t have to witness these attitudes and behaviors, but day in and day out I hear members of our community complain about what they aren’t getting, how hard things are. They believe they are owed something because they serve and often have an attitude of entitlement. We are better than that.
Let’s stop playing the military card and start taking responsibility for our lives and shine the light on our community in a positive way.
Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author, and military lifestyle blogger as well as the co-founder of LivingThruCrisis.com. Her books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Risk are go to resources for families and her website is filled with tips, inspiration and resources. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com.