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Do We Have A Choice?

Recently, someone thanked me for being a military child. I didn’t quite know what to say.

Well, it’s not like I have a choice. It’s not like I chose "military child” as my occupation. But you’re welcome, I guess?

Being a military child is one of the most complicated “jobs” in the world. We did not voluntarily enlist or commission in the military, unlike our parents. No, we were placed into this world with no choice or say. We move, go to new schools, pack up, and do it all again. We love our complex backgrounds and being able to share how many countries we’ve visited, but we also dread the question, “Where are you from?” knowing that we might not ever feel at home in any place at all. 

Being a military child was never a choice; it was an assignment. For some of us, that assignment was given to us at birth, when we entered into this world long after our parents joined the military. For others, the assignment may have ended a bit earlier, where we’ve been able to stay in one place after retirement but still have the virtues of service, resilience, and adaptation etched into our hearts. No matter the unique circumstances of how someone became a military child or if they even identify as one at all, it’s still a title and way of life that’s given, not chosen.  

But what if it was chosen?

What if we looked at the title “military child” not as an unwanted burden or something that robs us of independence but as something that can be willingly embraced? What if we chose to accept that we might never feel like we belong in one place, and that’s ok? What if we took back the power and proclaimed that we do have a choice? We do have the choice to be an example for younger military kids. We do have the choice to advocate for the needs of our underrepresented community. We do have the choice to make the world a better place for all who come after us. 

Even though we didn’t choose this lifestyle, we have the choice to accept the assignment and shape it into something vibrant and positive. For some of us, it might be hard to see the positive in being a military child, given the tremendous challenges we’ve experienced. This blog wasn’t written to discredit those feelings at all. It was simply written to ask the tough, complicated question: do we have a choice?


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