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An owl.

A firefly.

A crusader.

A trojan.

A stallion.

A wolf.

Each of these represents the mascot of a school that I’ve attended. Six schools. Six changes in teachers, in environment, in location, and in friends. Countless starting overs and many new beginnings. From country to country, across ocean after ocean, I’ve encountered many highs but equally as many lows. As I reflect on the journey that I’ve taken so far as a military teen, I realize that I learned six valuable lessons that have shaped me into the person I am today. But these six lessons don’t just apply to me. They apply to all military teens who face the future head on, unafraid of the challenges and victories placed ahead of them.

As an owl, I learned that my different lifestyle gives me wisdom and experiences that many other teens my age might never get to have.

As a firefly, I learned that I can’t hide and be afraid in scary circumstances or in new places, but I have to share my light and my kindness.

As a crusader, I learned that seeing friends move away is a painful experience, but pain will only make me stronger.

As a trojan, I learned that sometimes things might not always work out as you expect them, but I ultimately learned to be resilient.

As a stallion, I learned to hold my head up high and jump head first into new opportunities, because in the end, I’ll be so grateful that I did.

And now as a wolf….well, I’m still working on that. I’m learning that as a military teen, it’s ok to not always know the next step. It’s ok to feel lost at times. But it’s important to know that there’s always a brighter future ahead.

And finally, there’s one last mascot that sums up all of these lessons and more. It’s the dandelion, the official flower of the military child. The dandelion seeks to represent all of the trials, moves, changes, and new beginnings that military kids have to face. It represents the resilience, the strong roots, and the readiness that military kids bravely cultivate. It represents our ability to grow wherever we are planted.

Each and every one of us has our different mascots, we all have our different values that we stand for and represent. So today, choose to represent your own values alongside strength, kindness, and courage. Choose today to proudly look back at your military child roots and choose to look forward to the amazing journey ahead.


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