MSEJ April 2016 - Page 5

They are worldly. According to the DODEA, military kids will move six to nine times during their academic careers on average. Madison moved fifteen times as a kid, but noted the good and the bad, “I moved quite a bit (15 times) and so I always felt a lack of stability and yet I feel worldlier than many of my friends who lived in the same area their whole lives.”

Katrina’s experiences reflect the same mix: “I feel that I don't share a common culture with the people around me. I'm too much of a mix of cultures and experiences to relate with people on the same level. However, the variety of experiences allows me to connect on SOME level with more people than I feel people who haven't moved as much could. I have greater experience with meeting new people and starting off fresh, meaning not only do I feel better able to explore who I really am without my past personas following me into the future, but I feel I can better adapt to new situations.”

Both of these young women have perspective about their experiences. Yes, they recognize it’s been hard, but they also can identify the positive effects of their experiences on themselves.

They see your service as a model. Day in and day out, military kids bear witness to service, but not just from the parent in uniform. Madison recounted the impact of her mother’s volunteerism on her: “I am still trying to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life, but all of the things I am drawn to really do connect in with my life as a military kid. I have a strong pull to give back to the community, something I learned from watching my mother and other military spouses give so much of their time volunteering to support their military communities.” Katrina added, “Being a military kid definitely influenced my interest in exploring a specialty focused on people with traumatic brain injuries. Having a father deployed twice and knowing so many other men and women who serve, I have a higher desire to make sure they receive care should they experience emotional or physical harm overseas.”

Being a military kid means having a sense of a purpose-driven life and career.

They know the value of a network. Savvy with social media, today’s military kids don’t just pack up their bags and wave goodbye from the back of the minivan. They are networking and staying connected.

Madison encouraged others, “Get out and get involved in your communities! Make the best of meeting people everywhere you live and then stay connected with those friends! I am lucky to have friends across the country and world now that are a part of my network!”

DoD photo by Daren Reehl