Our servicemen and women are important, and we should do all we can to give back as they fight to keep us safe and free. However, their families are equally deserving of support and encouragement.
Rather than only showing support on Memorial Day, consider providing military families some extra help and love every chance you can– they often need it more than you think.
Here are a few ways you can do so...
Show Your Support & Thank Them All for Their Service
First and foremost, don’t hesitate to show your military support! This can be the simple acts of displaying a “Proud Of Our Troops” bumper sticker on your car; flying the American flag in your front yard; or thanking servicemen and women when you see them.
It’s always tough to have loved ones away from home, but showing your support outwardly can let family members know that the wider community has their backs.
Help Out Military Kids at School
Sons and daughters of military families frequently have difficulty adjusting, particularly if their parents’ jobs require them to move around a lot. School can be a haven of stability and routine; so teachers, involved parents, and older students should always try to support military kids whenever they can, to help them feel like they're welcome and fitting in at their new school.
Teachers in particular can provide tons of assistance to families that need it. Even something as simple as checking in with a student whose mom or dad is away on deployment can go a long way toward providing them some peace of mind, and a bit of emotional support.
Invite Military Family Members to Meals & Holiday Celebrations
By far, one of the best things anyone can do to support military families is invite them over for meals or for holiday celebrations. Holidays are in many ways the most difficult time for military families, since they’re often stark reminders of the distance they are from their loved one(s). They may be feeling lonely, or the mother or father might be struggling to provide a good celebratory experience for their kids in the absence of the other parent.
Take some of the burdens off their shoulders and invite them over for dinner once a week. Or invite them over the Fourth of July celebration and offer to do all the cooking – All they have to do is socialize and relax! This is doubly helpful for families with kids, who can play with your kids, or at least have something interesting and new to do with their relaxation time.
Offer to Help Care for Military Pets
Lastly, you might be able to provide foster care for military pets while their owners are on deployment. This is mostly helpful when the entire family is unable to take care of the pet for whatever reason, such as if both members of the family (the husband and wife) happen to be on deployment at the same time.
You could also offer to take care of a family pet for a while to help out a new mother who has tons of things to juggle when her husband is away. Managing a new baby as well as the dog can be a bit of a handful!
Any of these ways can make more of an impact on the lives of a service member’s family than you might think.
Supporting military families begins with small actions that improve the entire community over time, and we can all have a real, positive effect!