When we think of the advantages of being a military child, we immediately associate this idea with the wide range of children and youth programs, from affordable recreational, educational, and employment programs to flexible childcare. Of course, all these programs the military provides our children are excellent and well worth bragging about. But have we taken a moment to step back and see the actual advantage outcomes the military life has on our children?
Our children learn to live their lives entirely different from most American kids who live and grow up in one community their entire lives. Our military children are growing up in a heightened diverse culture around them; this may be by far one of the best advantages a child may have. Cultural immersion, experiencing authentic opportunities to interact with different people as they learn what they are passionate about.
As parents, we can get so caught up in the guilt for uprooting our children from place to place, duty station after duty station. Still, suppose we were to see these inconveniences as opportunities and take a glimpse of how cultural immersion strengthens our child’s character. Military children are collectors of experiences. With the right perspective, we can make the impossible possible, developing values, attitudes, knowledge, and skill that will enable them to face the challenges of an interconnected world. In that case, it is more impactful than just reading about it in books because it becomes part of their experience. Children who experience cultural immersion are more likely to retain what they learn utilizing this influence throughout life, which has huge implications for job potential later on.
Today, our world struggles to come together to form a global culture and economy. The need for cultural immersion continues to grow. The true essence of being a military child has the advantage to learn through experience understanding other people across borders. Cultural competence should be an integral part of childhood development, but not everyone can have the ability to experience this. Our military children’s biggest advantage is to be immersed in various cultures. Diversity is the center of every argument worldwide; there will always be a need for wisdom as the global culture changes.
As our military services continue to build more coherent services, comprehensive approaches towards supporting the well-being of our children. Let us take advantage of the surrounding culture our duty station is located. Every adaptive support system we create gives our children the edge in developing a world perspective in their character. We play a critical role in strengthening our resources as we get involved.
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