When my husband decided (after much research, prayer, and my full support) to join the military, one of the things I was most excited about was the opportunity to serve and minister to fellow military families. This blog is one of the primary ways that I am able to do that.
Here are a few statistics you should know about military families:
- Despite more than a decade of warfare, just 0.5 % of the American population has been on active military duty, compared with 9 % of Americans who were in uniform in World War II.
- Military families relocate 10 times more often than civilian families — on average, every 2 or 3 years.
- Military spouses tend to be under 35 and are largely female. They have a higher-than-average unemployment rate, compared to civilian spouses (almost 10 %, compared to 5 %).
- About 10 % of the 2.4 million service members who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan deployed three or more times.
- Since 2001, more than 2 million American children have had a parent deployed at least once.
One of the most unique things,though, when comparing our most recent wars to those previously fought by our country, is the tremendous disconnect between those serving and the rest of society.
As former Defense Secretary Robert Gates once summed up, the average American believes military service “no matter how laudable, has become something for other people to do.”… More and more, Americans get most of their exposure to veterans and the military through movies, video games, and halftime shows. Americans get most of their ideas about what soldiers are like, and what their jobs are like, from pop culture. They don’t get it during Thanksgiving as a relative tells them about their recent experiences overseas — that’s somebody else’s life. (Read the full article here).
This video, produced by Vox and the Veterans Coming Home project, does a great job of demonstrating how the burden of war is falling on fewer people than in generations past.
Be the Bridge
With this website, I hope to play a tiny role in bridging that gap. I don’t pretend to have all the answers for how to fix this growing divide, but I can provide a few suggestions, a few small steps that we can all take. If even one weary mama gets someone to babysit her kids for a few hours, if one veteran lands a job, if one sailor is encouraged when he opens that care package, then this page has been successful.
Listed below are a just a few ideas of how YOU can bridge the gap and help a military family today.
When you sacrifice in these small ways you make their big sacrifices so much easier!
If you own a business or have influence over hiring decisions:
- Offer a job to a veteran or military spouse
- Use your contacts to introduce them to the right people
- Help them put together a resume
- Provide them with training and experience that will help them land a job
Through the mail:
- Have your kids make cards. Cards can be sent to those currently deployed, wounded warriors, veterans, and even spouses.
- Send a care package. Check out this page for tips and suggestions on what to send.
- Become a Servant Mama Military Spouse Ministry volunteer! We send care packages to military spouses. Find more details here!
If you personally know a family serving:
- Babysit their kids
- Mow grass or shovel snow
- Invite them over for dinner
- If they are new to the area, help them get connected. Suggest grocery stores, hair stylists, churches, doctors, kid’s activities, restaurants, etc.
- Donate to a group like DAV, Fisher House, or Hope for the Warriors. Check here to make sure it’s a reputable organization.
- An idea that I’m really excited about is to shop and support small business’ owned by military spouses! Check out the Shop page for more details!
What we can all do:
- Vote! Do your research and make informed choices based on your personal convictions.
- Pray! We need prayer warriors to cover our nations warriors and their families with heartfelt prayers for peace, protection, and strength to endure.
I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
Edward Everett Hale