*I am proud to be partnering with Blue Star Families to bring you this post!
Military life brings lots of long separations and saying goodbyes. Goodbye to the one you love most of all. Goodbye to the job you enjoyed, the home you adored, and the places you knew.
Military life is full of frequent moves and constantly having to start over- a new house, a new city, a new school for your kids. Finding a new doctor, hairstylist, and if you’re really lucky, a few friends along the way.
Military life forces you to become a quick learner. Before you know it you’ll have mastered how to navigate Tricare, how to get into base housing, and understand more acronyms than you know what to do with.
Military life often means living far from family, missing a support system, and frequently feeling as though you’ve lost all control of your life.
Military life can be learning to live with the wounds of war, both seen and unseen.
Military life means sitting down to dinner and feeling the weight of the empty chair across from you, watching the evening news with fear in your heart, wiping your child’s tears away as you tuck them in at night and explain yet again that daddy will be home soon.
Military life is an adventure. It’s being part of a greater purpose, something to take pride in, and quite possibly the most challenging, stressful thing you’ve ever experienced.
Does It Need to be Fixed?
It’s easy to let all the challenges of military life weigh us down.
But they don’t have to.
You see, my husband is a “fix-it” kind of guy. When something’s wrong, he HAS to fix it. Whether it’s something around the house, a vehicle, or a kid that’s misbehaving- he’s on it.
Unlike myself, he’s not the type to complain about something. He either ignores it because it’s actually not that big of a deal or he fixes it.
We can learn a valuable lesson from my husband: If it’s not important, ignore it. But if it matters, fix it.
So take a minute and think about your years spent living the military lifestyle. What stands out to you? What has been the best part? What has been the worst? What part have you loved and what part has made you cry? What is the military community getting right and what needs to change? What needs to be fixed?
How Do We Fix It?
So now you’ve got it…that one thing (or maybe five) that you KNOW need to be fixed. So how do we do get there? How do we fix it?
Complaining to your spouse or best friend isn’t going to fix it. It might make you feel better, but it won’t fix it. The key to fixing it is this: get your concerns in front of the people who CAN do something about it.
Thankfully, Blue Star Families and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University have provided a way for us to do exactly that.
They have put together the 8th annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey. This detailed survey explores the many unique issues that military and veteran families face on a daily basis. Some of the topics covered are deployment, education, employment, wellness, and finances along with others.
This survey is completely anonymous and the responses given will be used to impact policy, educate military leadership, and influence both government decision-makers and the general public on the challenges and stressors impacting military families today.
Participating in this survey will get your concerns in front of the people who can do something about them. This survey will be a powerful tool to help fix things.
So Go Get Started!
This important survey only works if members of the military and veteran community take part. They need to hear what YOU have to say. So click here to get started or keep reading for more details.
The survey is so valuable, largely because it is very detailed and thorough. However, that does mean that it takes a little bit of time to complete. The website suggests that it typically takes 30-35 minutes to finish. I’ll admit that it took me about 45 minutes. Obviously, that will vary though depending on how detailed your responses are and how many times your kids interrupt you.
Most questions are quick multiple choices items. Other items make you stop and think a little bit more, like the one that asked: “How many months have you spent separated from your spouse since 2001?” I may have sat and tried to calculate that one for a tad too long. In case you’re wondering, the answer is “Way too many”.
You can also skip any question that you would prefer not to answer.
And remember, it’s COMPLETELY ANNONYMOUS. They want to know the truth, what it’s really like. No one’s going to question you or your spouse about the responses you give. So be real.
Honestly, this may sound strange, but as I completed the survey I actually found it a bit cathartic. It was an opportunity to just put it all out there, all the things that have weighed heavy on me for so many years. Just by the very nature of the questions asked I realized, “It’s not just me. Other people feel this way too”.
So now is your chance. The survey will be open until May 19, so make it a priority. You have the ability to fix things. Go fix them.
Oh, and There’s a Bonus!
After you have completed the survey and submitted your responses, you will be directed to a page outside of the survey. There, you will have the option to enter a giveaway for a chance to win $100! Five winners will be randomly chosen as a way of saying “thank you” for participating. Your time and effort really are appreciated! Thank you for making the military life a little bit better for all of us.
Please take a few seconds and share this post with other military families so that they can give their opinions too!