On the mornings I drive the neighborhood kids to school I usually shout out a couple affirmations at them: “I am brave, I am kind, I am smart, I am a great learner.” The idea of affirmations is that the children will (hopefully) repeat these sentences and get a great boost of self-confidence before the start of the day. I will say most days I am combatted with an, “I am silly”, or my least favorite, “I am POOPY ” (I’ve got a kindergarten boy in the carpool that thinks this is hilarious- go figure). While I don’t know how much is actually registering to this crowded minivan, I truly believe these things about these kids, and I hope they always will too.
As April is the Month of the Military Child, here’s a few affirmations to consider doing with your children:
They are brave.
Wow, are they brave. I mean we’re starting with the obvious, right? These kids move to new states, new neighborhoods, new schools, and must make new friends everytime. That is hard when you just got settled and have to go figure it out all over again. These kids are brave when their parent(s) are away. They must live their little lives with a big piece missing, sometimes constantly. Now I’m not saying they do any of this without a fight. Sometimes they do put up a fight about the constant change in location or family dynamic… but seriously, what do we expect? These are the mini versions of us who haven’t been given the choice and don’t know how to regulate their feelings.
Wow, are they brave. Isn’t that what being brave is all about? Being ready for battle? Putting up a good fight? But even if it’s a losing battle, being able to put on a brave face and do it anyway?
That is bravery. That is a military kid.
They are kind.
I would like to think that all military kids encompass kindness. It’s like they are born with it or something (insert your own seaman joke here). Our kids know what it feels like to be the new kid. They know what it’s like to have a stressed-out solo parent (wait, just me?) and how kindness can go SUCH a long way. Hopefully they are being treated with grace and love and that can rub off on everyone around them. These military kids have so much potential in their constant connections and KINDNESS is such a powerful tool.
They are learners.
I know what you’re thinking: duh. They are going to school, preschool, etc. Obviously, they are learners. But our kids? Our kids are exceptionally good learners. Having to pick up a curriculum in the middle of the year is super impressive, but that’s not even half of it. I’m talking about what they learn from the world around them- every day. They meet new people and learn about new ideas and cultures… and most of them are pretty much wizards in Geography.
They are always learning, even from us. Nobody WANTS mom/dad to leave and it’s okay to recognize our emotions during these difficult times. What can they learn from a stressed-out Mom? (hi, still me) They can learn how to be a kind and helpful team-player so that life is generally more peaceful… even when mom’s on day 103 of solo parenting (not me currently – hugs if this is you). Our kids also learn from their service member parents – a whole new level of bravery. This parent probably doesn’t even realize that they are teaching their kid resilience, dedication and commitment, and in return we’re all learning a thing or two about empathy.
Like I said, I’m not sure if anyone’s listening to me at 7:15 on a Monday morning. But somewhere in their psych I hope it’s registering:
YOU ARE A LEARNER.
YOU ARE KIND.
YOU ARE BRAVE.