Our military lifestyle is often demanding and stressful; but in the past few years families have faced ever increasing turmoil. We presently have hundreds of thousands of service members deployed, many other units are either preparing to leave or are leaving almost on a daily basis. Reserve and National Guard Soldiers are being sent away for back-to-back tours or being told that they may be gone for up to two years. Families are certainly being asked to cope with a lot and many feel that they have lost total control over their lives.
We are not ever going to be able to totally remove stress; however, we do have the means to empower families and help them gain some semblance of control. There are many programs and resources available to military families. Knowing where to go and what to do before a situation arises can not only give the family a sense of security but it also helps the deploying soldier so he or she can concentrate on the Army mission and come home safely. I cannot encourage you strongly enough to gather that information, make those contacts and inform yourselves. Prepare yourselves and your children before anything happens so that if a situation arises you don't have to waste valuable time and energy searching for assistance. Believe me, I've been both places and prepared is much more comfortable.
Attend unit activities and Family Readiness Group meetings. You all have the same concerns. Making contact with other families provides a link for information and someone who understands and helps diminish that loneliness.
The Association of the United States Army is a valuable resource. We are here to assist and inform you. This is the lifestyle that we have chosen. How we react to it is the one element that is totally within our control.
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do,
Sylvia E.J. Kidd
Director, Family Programs
Association of the U.S. Army