A Look At Military Life
The military uniform is an obvious symbol of the men and women who serve their country. But we often forget that the families of military members also sacrifice for their country through the support they give our Armed Forces; they wear an “invisible uniform.”
This includes the children of military members, who have to balance the typical struggles of growing up with the unique challenges of being in a military family. Between constant moves and long deployments, these youth face challenges unlike those experienced by others their age.
A fundamental part of being in the military is constant relocations. This moving around can be tough on children, since they start from scratch when it comes to friends — and sometimes even their education.
Deployments are another tough part of military life. Having a parent deployed means not only time spent apart, but often missed holidays and birthdays, too. However, most children can look past these challenges and appreciate the unique opportunities they have.
Antoinette Kennedy is among a group of local youth who shared their experiences of growing up with a military parent in a collection of essays. “My dad has missed his fair share of holidays and birthdays on deployment, but nothing is better than tearing into a box sent halfway across the world knowing that inside there’s things that have been specially picked and written with only me in mind,” wrote the grade 11 student.
No matter how difficult the struggles can be, most children appreciate how being a part of the military family broadens their horizons, and they appreciate what they have in their lives.
“I find my many postings have allowed me to see the world. I’ve seen different cultures and different people. I’ve learned that everyone is different. Different beliefs, different customs. But most importantly, I’ve learned that nothing lasts forever,” explained Marilou Poitras, grade 9.
Here is a selection of stories about growing up in the military. Each essay shares a student’s distinct perspective about how being a part of the military community has shaped them into the individuals they are.
"I remember that when he was gone we had jelly bean jars that had one jelly bean for everyday that he was gone and every day we would eat one jelly bean, until there was none left, and then he would be home."
"The MFRC helps me as a child of a Canadian Soldier to feel like I belong, and to remind me that I always have a place I can go to if I ever need help."
"Stationary is not what I want to be, the military made me that way, and it never lets me stay for long."