5) Embrace life.
“YOLO” (You Only Live Once). Why do I feel a military brat could’ve coined that phrase? They take both big and small risks with gusto! I’ve watched my kids extend the vulnerable hand of friendship to someone they barely know, and learn how to ski on a tall mountain in the Alps. I submit that both acts take equal amounts of bravery.
4) Appreciate the small things.
These kids don’t take anything for granted, whether it’s having a parent back after deployment to something simple like electricity. Yes, lights. We joke now about how many natural disasters our family has been through. We weathered numerous earthquakes and typhoons when we were stationed in Guam, including two typhoons in the space of one week. This meant several weeks with no power, gas rationing, and… misery. I recall moldy furniture and washing out toddler’s clothes with bottled water, using a Lego table as a washboard. They remember the privilege of eating dinner at the chow hall, the delight of wearing the same clothes several days’ running (ewww), and the moment when the lights came on. For the longest time after, my 4-year-old would accompany switched-on lights with clapping her chubby hands and gleefully squealing, “Wights on!!”
3) Be fearless.
If you walk into a new situation and the worst that happens is that you make a fool of yourself…so what? I’ve watched my children handle new situations with maturity, grace and fearlessness. I’m often tempted to want to know everything about a given situation, job, or friendship beforehand, but watching how my amazing “brats” have handled life makes me braver.
2) The world is an amazing place.
My youngest was better traveled at age 10 than I was at 20. When I find myself holding back, I look at the world through their eyes. There is always something new to be discovered, places to explore, friends to make and chocolate to be eaten.
You couldn’t teach them a thing about this topic. By golly, they’ve lived it. They know firsthand the price that comes with active duty service. You won’t see them slouching or sitting during the playing of our National Anthem. No, they’d be the ones you see standing straight, tiny hand over heart. You might see a tear tracing its way down a teen’s cheek. It’s cost them too much to take lightly.
They’re my heroes.