A few weeks back we asked our Facebook followers for advice and tips for new military families and service members. Dozens of people participated in the submit-a-tip with really great ideas. We wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the best and most common advice and thank everyone for keeping our Facebook community so active.
Almost all of the tips submitted had something to do with maintaining a positive attitude. It’s no secret that the military lifestyle comes with a lot of ups and downs and at times it may be hard to keep up. No matter what you’re faced with, a positive attitude is a handy weapon.
Facebook user Tacinta Connor gave some great advice to new military spouses about staying positive and humble. “During your time always have the outlook of you’ll always have something to learn. Approach it as a learning experience. When you’re learning, you’re growing. The moment you have the mindset of ‘Know-It-All’ wife you’re going to have a harder journey.”
One of the best parts of being in a military family is the access to a great community. Members of the military community are all about finding ways to share experiences and help each other whenever possible. Finding other military spouses, parents and children gives you access to people going through the same hardships.
Judy Johnson, an Air Force spouse for 24 years, knows all about finding support in the military community. “There are some great people as members of our military and their families; get to know them,” she said. “You will never have such an amazing support group!”
The most common tip was to stick to your commitment of writing every day or every week. Too many family members say they will write to deployed service members but get busy and let it slide. If handwriting your letters is too time consuming, type them or send an email. You may not know until they return, but many service members say reading letters from home helps more than anything.
Military mom Tracy Crowson Hunter wrote about the positive impact she had on her son by writing him every day. “At graduation my son opened the drawer under his bunk showing me all the letters, then said to me, ‘Mom, all the guys think you are the coolest mom ever. We are so cut off from world.’ My son went on to tell me that every day that all the guys would read the sports updates, jokes and quotes. Most of the guys never received letters. He also told me it really helped him to get through the time in basic training.”
Adam Blevins of the U.S. Navy shared words of advice about avoiding money temptations. “You will have everyone wanting to give you loans and credit, and just because you may get approved for something doesn’t mean you can afford it.”
There were a number of very practical pieces of advice given for both service members and families about staying financially responsible. Especially for service members going in at a young age, balancing finances and deployment can be difficult. Occasional windfalls can make it difficult to achieve long-term financial goals. But with proper planning, budgeting and self restraint, you can pay for everything necessary and still have some left to save.
Military Family Central follower Alissa Patranc Arp says it best: “Expect the unexpected! Live, laugh and love lots!” This embodies the overall tone of the advice we got. Everyone seemed to agree that life in the military comes with a lot of surprises, changes and “Hurry up and wait” moments. New service members and their families should expect change and always approach it with as positive an attitude as possible.