Appreciation and Contemplation: Considering Military Families

Veteran_and_FlagBy Aubrey Murtha — The beginning of November is a special time for military folks across the country.

November 11th is Veterans Day, an annual federal holiday that honors men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces.  The day preceding is also significant to my dad because it is the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.  Although my dad has served in both the Air Force, the Marines, and went through the Naval ROTC program here at Marquette designated for guys interested in the Corps, the Marine Corps holds a very special place in his heart.

Ooo Rah! Semper Fi! Happy 239th birthday, dad.

Lately, I have a growing interest to teach at a school in an area with a high population of military moms and dads.

Last year, I took an online course offered to me by the College of Education in partnership with the Military Child Education Coalition.  The course was aimed at educating future teachers, coaches, counselors, and others who work with military children on the effects that military reintegration can have on the child or children of military parents. Military reintegration is the process that follows an extensive deployment in which the spouse, children, and military service member must adjust to living together once again.  As a teacher of a military child whose family is adjusting either to deployment or the reintegration of a military parent, one must be cognoscente of the emotional and psychological distress that can result from these dramatic lifestyle changes.

Another topic stressed by the course was the impact that moving for military purposes can have on a family.  Because my mom and dad chose not to uproot us kids when my dad moved bases, and my dad made the conscious decision to be a military reservist in the Air Force for much of our lives, I am no expert on the impacts that moving for the military can have on a child.  I never had to deal with much of what other military children must cope with.  I sympathize with the kids in these situations, yet I also recognize the tremendous skills that children of active duty military parents can and often do obtain.  These kids are resilient, extraordinarily adaptable to change, and usually relatively self-sufficient.   Teachers who work with these kids must be aware of this and work to capitalize on these skills.

The fact that the military has been a part of my life has sparked my interest in such topics.  Sometimes, I think we forget about the kids of the men and women that serve extensive tours overseas, and as educators, we rarely learn about how to best serve these children.  Perhaps this is something we could look into.

In conclusion, I’d like to say thank you to any veterans, their spouses, their children, and anyone connected to or personally affiliated with a military service man or woman.  I am very thankful for what you do.  God bless you, and God bless America.

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