Military kids’ impressive resiliency, perhaps our future

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Patrick O'Brien
  • 93rd Air Refueling Squadron Commander
Some of my earliest memories in life revolve around events at my father's Army Reserve unit. I remember the Christmas parties, cookouts, commissioning and promotion ceremonies, changes of commands and parades every Veterans Day. Whether I knew it or not, as a kid, and especially as a teenager, I was in an apprenticeship for my future life in the Air Force. Our children, the kids of Active Duty, Guard and Reservists, are the future business, military and legislative leaders of our country.

This is an exciting and anxious time of the year for our kids. The long summer days of sleeping in, playing all day and going to bed late are over. The new school year has begun and for many it means starting all over due to their parent's permanent change of station to a new Air Force base.

Starting from scratch, trying to meet new friends and figuring out how to pick up where you left off with sports teams or band practices can be trying and stressful. It's not easy being the child of a military parent, but their resiliency is impressive.

The children of military parents are amazing. They are skilled at making new friends and adapting to change. They have a worldliness found only in people who have traveled and seen the beauty of the different regions of our country and in some cases, the diversity of different continents. In short, they are a cut above their peers who have not experienced and witnessed the traditions of military life.

There is no shortage of role models for kids of military parents and you do not need to look very far to see highly successful adults who grew up in military families. Our own Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Mark Welsh, was raised in an Air Force family and is the son of a decorated combat pilot.

Some other famous people who grew up moving every few years and making new friends include actress Jessica Alba, comedian Bill Cosby, future Hall of Fame NBA super star Shaquille O'Neal and Olympic all-around gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas. If you had a chance to ask them where they learned to be so determined or work hard to be the best at what they do, I think you will find that growing up in a military family was a key to their success.

The next time you are driving through the base and you see a kid walking by, give them a smile and wave to them. They are proud of you and look up to you. You should be proud of them too because they are our future. They are the descendants of a long blue line and many of them will continue this tradition. Because of your kids, when it is time for us to hang up the uniform for the last time, we can do so confident because the future of our military and our country is in good hands.