It's that season again. Time for military brats everywhere to begin the age old bonding ritual that has been amazing parents for generations. I was witness to this ritual among my own children recently. It's what makes our kids special, well-adjusted and successful!!!!
The TLF bonding experience.
We were in the TLF on an extended vacation for Spring Break. The first night we were there, the boys were out playing football. Out on the other side of the TLF was a young boy about their age. He was throwing a ball to no one (only boy in his family - poor thing). It took about two minutes for the bonding to begin....."Hey, you wanna play some ball?" Best friendships have been made from less.
By the time the boys got in from playing football, they were full of details about their new friend. If we actually lived in the vacation spot, a new friendship would have blossomed. As it is, there was a week of having a great time hanging out and having fun. No holds barred, no consideration for ethnicity, no thought about rank, no questions of politics or religion - just a bunch of guys hanging out playing football. We had lived where we vacationed and the 'new guy' was just coming in - so my boys were sharing some of the 'local landscape'.
It was such a neat thing to see. It's this ability to make good friends quickly, to give oneself over to the possibilities of new experiences, new people that separates military kids from the pack. They become independent, flexible, friendly, approachable and at ease in new situations - all skills that will serve them well as they grow to adulthood.
My oldest child is 14. He's reaching those pesky teenage years in which the moves become a REAL hassle. I remember when I was growing up military - the older you get, the harder moving becomes. You bond closer with friends and don't want to leave for the next assignment. It's hard to believe that you will survive being ripped from your 'group'. You can't fathom the possibility that you might be able to find new friends who will be the same, accept you and mean just as much.
Yet, we all have to do this as adults. How many civilians live in the same place they lived in as children? What about kids going off to college? Moving was great for me. It's great for my kids - even when they don't realize it. Being part of this military lifestyle can be a true positive for kids.....they can bond over football in less than the time it takes to make a dinner salad!