If you’ve ever seen the joy on a child’s face when a mom or dad returns from deployment, you’ve seen a glimpse of how some military kids see their parents—they are heroes! Even though most children aren’t mature enough to grasp abstract concepts like patriotism, nearly every Operation Purple® “Top Ten” list included a statement of pride about their parent’s service.
“I hope to one day be as great as him.”
But, in communities where there aren’t many other military families, children may feel alone or may be hesitant to say their mom or dad is in the military because it singles them out as different. Reinforce a child’s pride in their parent and strengthen the bond between the child and parent with these strategies:
Host a “hero day” highlighting service members, police, firefighters, nurses, and other people whose job is to help others.
Create a board in your classroom, locker room, or house of worship recognizing service members.
Invite the military parent to your organization for Veterans Day or Memorial Day to talk about the Armed Forces.
Encourage the students you work with to participate in a community service event in your neighborhood.
Display the member’s Service symbol on the child’s classroom door to show classes with students having a parentin the military.
Family of the Year Award—nominate an extraordinary military family for a cash prize and trip to Washington D.C. Visit www.MilitaryFamily.org for more information.
“My Hero: Military Kids Write About Their Moms and Dads,” by Allen Appel and Mark Rothmiller—Armed Services YMCA youth tell heartwarming and candid stories about their military parents. Visit www.asymca.org for more information.