☷Growing up as a military child National Military Brats Day
U.S. Army ( By Press Release office)
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Sarah and Mark Patterson with their service member parent when he returned from deployment . Zachary Stoeger with his service member parent . Catherine Burnley and her service member parent . Lauren Miller followed in her parents ' footsteps and joined the military . She is shown with one of her service member parents . Jack Stacy and his service member parent . ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL , Ill – “Where are you from ” This is a question many military brats dreads being asked . How do we answer such a question We could say “I’m not from anywhere” or , “I’m from everywhere , ” but people probably still wouldn’t understand . For those who may not know , a ‘brat’ is a slag term for the child of a military service member . The nomadic lifestyle of a military family is one that is hard to understand unless you have lived it firsthand . I am a military brat myself . In my 22 years of life , I have moved seven times , attended six different schools , and lived on three different continents . That means that , every few years , I had to pick up my life and start fresh in a new place with new cultures , new people , new schools , new houses , new gymnastics teams and even new languages . It is a terrifying , yet invigorating , way to live . Military brats are a special breed of children . They have witnessed more of the world and overcome more adversity than most people will in their whole lives . You will never meet a more cultured teenager than one who has spent their whole life moving around the United States , and maybe even around the world . Zachary Stoeger , 17 , has moved seven times . He explained why he enjoys moving frequently . “I think it ' s good for me because I get to mix with different cultures and people of different backgrounds , ” he said . “I think it’s easier for me to understand new people now than it would be for someone who’s lived in the same place their whole life . ” Katie Baltos , 13 , also agrees that moving often has benefitted her . She even claims that having lived in many different environments has helped her in school . “Moving allows me to learn more about different places , ” she said . “Honestly , I really enjoy moving every few years . The other year when we were learning about eco science in science class , I had a good idea of how ecosystems are like in a desert . I had a better understanding of it than most of my class who have never been to a desert . ” As exciting as moving may be , it is also a huge stressor on these children . Some choose to put up boundaries so they are not too attached to a place or person . “Moving so often has given me the mindset that I shouldn’t get close to people because I’m just going to move , ” Katie said . “It really stunted my social skills and has affected me negatively in the fact that it ' s just flat out really hard for me to get to know people and befriend them , and also fully understand the boundaries thing . ” Other children have turned to social media to keep in touch with friends from past duty locations . Jack Stacy , 14 , has moved eight times . “When I move , all it really changes is how I see old friends and making new friends , but social media has helped me a lot , ” he said . “ In fact , recently I got Snapchat and reconnected with some of my older friends from past moves . It was nice and we got to catch up . ” Additionally , military children struggle with their service member parent ( s ) being away , either on deployment or temporary duty assignments , more commonly known as TDYs . “When my dad isn’t home that ' s sometimes hard , ” Zachary said . “ It ' s harder for me , it ' s harder for my mom , and it ' s harder for my sibling because there’s one less parent in the house . You never want him to leave but you know he ' s doing something important wherever he is . You know it’s for a reason . ” Not only is there one less parent at home , there is an additional concern for their parent’s safety . “The scariest part of being a military kid was… when my dad was deployed , being scared if he would come back , ” Jack said . Catherine Burnley , six , chooses to look on the bright side of her dad leaving . “Normally everywhere he goes when he’s on a trip , he gets us something from that place , ” she said . After a military brat graduates from high school , they have a decision to make , whether to stay in the military world or not . Second Lt . Lauren Miller , 21 , chose to follow in her parents’ footsteps and joined the Georgia National Guard . After watching both of her parents serve in the Army and moving seven times , she felt like it was her duty to continue on her family’s legacy of service . “I was really inspired growing up in a dual military household , ” she said . “Through seeing my parents work so hard to build a foundation for themselves , I felt a personal call to serve too . ” For me , growing up around the military opened my eyes to another way I could continue my family’s legacy of service… as an Army Civilian . If you would have told me when I was 16 , that one day I would use the skills I learned in my video communication class while attending my Department of Defense High School on Caserma Ederle , Vicenza , Italy , to give back to the Army , I’m not sure I would have believed you . Despite the struggle that comes with being a military brat , personally , I would not have changed a thing . I am proud of my dad for what he’s done for this country and I am thankful for the life I was able to live .
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