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Sometimes Negatives Are Also Positives

As we all know, military teens can have a difficult life. I respect that statement because I know it’s true. We go through moves - leaving behind the known and plunging into the unknown - and we live through vexing family separations. We are at the whim of the military. And that makes our lives, well, difficult.

I’m sure we’ve all been pitied and maybe even pitied ourselves. And who wouldn’t be upset when their family member is away in a war zone for nine months? Let me tell you, I’ve cried myself to sleep, woken up crying, or broken down in the middle of the day. It’s just natural, almost expected. When we’re going through something hard, we are expected to react.

Yet, it seems that those moments are all that’s noticed. The other 99% of times, when I’m completely happy, are ignored, and that 1% is flung into the spotlight. And what absolutely grates me is when people inevitably say, “Oh, you poor thing, you must hate being a military child.”

Well, suffice it to say, I don’t. Not at all. In fact, I could venture to say that I love it. Being born into the military, I’ve never had a chance to experience anything different - this is my life. I can only love it or hate it, and I’ll take being happy over being miserable. And I don’t think I’m an anomaly.

I personally asked 25 military teens (boys/girls, close friends/acquaintances, different ages, active duty/recently retired, living near me/living far away - differing circumstances) their favorite part of being a military teen and their least favorite part. I was completely unbiased, not mentioning my intended point to prove and not taking into account myself or my sister. 15 people responded (I know 15 responses aren't all that credible, but it's still something), and 11 of the responses were, to say the least, intriguing.

As is probably anticipated, those 11 people said their least favorite parts had to do with moving, whether that be saying goodbye to connections, adjusting to new cultures, or the hassle of restarting life. Yet, they all also referenced moving as their favorite part. And the four who answered something else (specifically deployments) for their least favorite part also essentially said that moving was their favorite aspect.

Think about that for a moment: moving = best and worst part. So when the bad also brings the good, what should we think? Maybe, like every other lifestyle, some parts of being a military teen absolutely suck, but that’s not the whole story? There is more than just that unhappy percent.

I will not discount any of the trials and tribulations military teens go through on a daily basis. Those matters should never be ignored - they are hugely present and affect everyone. But I know that there is more to us than tough times. Smiles and laughs are shared, relationships are formed, and happy memories are created - items of genuine and lasting joy. Sometimes, all those negatives circulating out there actually bring about the many positives in our lives.


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