Have you seen the picture of a group women standing in a park with their children while laughing and playing? That’s called a village.
A village is a community, that’s it.
It’s not a perfect community or a community of group thinkers. It’s just a community. Are you a part of a village? I am. We all are, essentially. Whether we believe it or want to accept it, we are all part of a community of people who share something in common, our spouses’ military service. Don’t think you need a village? Well, think again. At one point or another, we were all in a position to use help from someone other than ourselves.
Why do You Even Need a Village?
I will be honest with you, when I first move to a new duty station, finding friends is number 99 on my list of 100 priorities. I want to get my family in order, my home together, and learn my way around town before I even think about having a casual commissary conversation with another spouse. Don’t get me wrong, I am far from anti-social, but I have a hard time being attentive when things aren’t taken care of in my own life. Have you ever moved to new post and been asked to provide two local emergency contacts? How does that even work? Yes, hi my name is Marla, what’s your name, address, and phone number? Also, can I call you a friend of the family? Seems normal, right? For a military family, it’s totally normal. One day, during a pre-deployment counseling session, the counselor asked what my support system looked like when my husband deploys. I didn’t have a physical one. I had friends and family back home that I could call and talk to, but I knew no one at that duty station. If I were to need immediate help, who would I call? How do you know people will even want to be in your village? You don’t. All you can do is treat others as you would like to be treated and hope they do the same. I don’t jump into relationships with other spouses, but over time, I do get to know them (some, I like more than others), but most importantly, those bonds create an inevitable village.
What Does Your Village Look Like?
As military spouses our villages are quite diverse. We are women and men who come from different demographics, ethnicities, and have different cultural practices. Our relationships are forged by our spouses’ military service. At my husbands’ first duty station, I didn’t set out to create a village, it just happened. My village consisted of Soldiers, Spouses, and even people from the local area surrounding the military post. We were all different. We didn’t all like the same things, sometimes we didn’t agree on parenting styles, or relationship issues, but we respected each other as friends. Being in a diverse group, challenges us to think and care about others, which, in my opinion, is something we all can do a little more of.
Where Can You Find Your Village?
Your village can be found anywhere you are. It can be people from your school, church, spouses’ unit, or even your neighborhood park. Go to a unit event, a new instructional class, or visit a social media group, you’ll find someone worthy of spending your time with, I’m sure. You create villages everywhere. Best part about it, you can be a part of different villages! Be your best self and others will be inspired to follow.
Military life isn’t easy. Don’t make it harder on yourself by being alone. Make a friend and be a friend. I challenge you to speak to someone you don’t know. I know, it seems weird, but that’s how we used to interact back in the day. We would talk to random people at schools, churches, and anywhere we were. Let’s bring back the days of genuine friendship and comradery. I didn’t choose this family, but I’m glad I have them.