Different opinions offered on a topic can be enlightening, may cause debate and may even cause conflict. I don’t think conflict was the intention of the writer of this article -- "9 Reasons the Obama Girls Are Like Military Kids."
But comparisons are dangerous. Someone almost always misunderstands the point of the comparison. It also seems to describe a shortfall of some sort.
So maybe there is another way to bring us back to a common ground so those of us that read this blog on a regular basis are back to learning it, supporting and encouraging each other.
This is my letter to the First Daughters.
Dear Sasha and Malia,It must be a pleasure and a challenge to lead the life you lead. In one way you are like many of the military kids that serve with their parents. Like my three children, you likely had little choice in the vocation chosen by your parents. It does put you into a position to live a life very different than your peers. This is much like the military kids of the 1 percent that serve in uniform in the U.S. I will also grant that you have had some opportunities that many of your peers will not have. You have met some amazing people and traveled to some parts of our world that are normally inaccessible to the average American.
My challenge in raising my three children over the last 24 years in a military family was to rewrite our challenges into opportunities, to grow through changes that may test us to our limits, and maintain a family connection through long and dangerous separations. My hope is that I did enough to give my kids the tools to handle whatever life may throw at them, even though, much of the time I was struggling with the same things. Did I teach them to make the most of the opportunities they were given? Did they learn to grow roots shallow enough to move every two-three years but deep enough to form lasting connections? Did I teach them to fit in and belong as quickly as possible? Did I teach them to value the many different people they will meet in their life journey? Did I teach them to laugh and cry equally so they could grow and move on when things got hard?
Now they have grown and are making their own way in life. I am watching them as they make decisions, build their own families, and follow their own paths and I am proud to say, that yes, it seems I did teach them those things. They are doing beautifully. It has not been without their own ups and downs, but they have the skills learned in this lifestyle, to recover whatever situation they are faced with.
I am sure your own parents struggle with many of the same questions and concerns any parent has when raising children in the 21st century, regardless of privilege or the house you live in. I challenge you to take the amazing opportunities you have been given and learn through them as well. Use your experiences to find your path in life and face your own unique challenges.
A vast chasm seems to separate our two very different lifestyles with the only bridge being how we learn from each through our different lifestyles. Celebrate our differences, grow through them, and continue to grow into graceful young women.
Thank you and with kindest regards, Milinda Rau Military wife and mom
Milinda Rau has been a Marine Corps spouse for 24 years and followed her Marine across the country three times and then to the other side of the world for the last two-and-a-half years. She has three amazing kids and two adorable grandkids. Although they got a late start in the Marine Corps, she has come to love this life. She is passionate about seeing the glass half-full and approaching life as something to learn from and not let it beat me down. She tries to do that by supporting the spouses around her and as a mentor and a trainer (professionally) but right now she is trying to adjust to the empty nest syndrome.