Maddi Miller is a 16 year old sophomore who enjoys running. As a military brat, she has lived in 5 different places. Having always been a social person, Maddi did not struggle much with meeting new people. She has a more optimistic outlook on the military lifestyle. “I loved getting to travel lots of places, especially when I lived overseas I got to go to a lot of different countries.” On the other side of the spectrum, when Maddi’s dad would leave on deployment, it had a significant effect on her. Time differences, schedules, and other communication barriers made keeping in touch difficult for Maddi and her family. Maddi recalls making care packages for her dad, and that these gifts made his day. In turn, this small gesture eased her family’s pain as well. Maddi’s positive attitude has made transitioning easier for her. She encourages other military kids to jump right in to wherever they go and to not be afraid to put themselves out there.
Beth Drain is a 24 year old college student who is studying management. Beth’s dad has been a marine for over 20 years and their family has lived in seven different places. The biggest struggle for Beth during these transitions is being separated from her family and her friends. As an introvert, Beth hated being continually thrown into new places and having to essentially start over. “It’s very difficult for me to trust people, so I would put up walls whenever I moved and encountered new people.” While these transitions had an effect on Beth when she was younger, today she considers herself a social person. She has learned through her experiences to not be bitter about transitioning and instead make the best of the situation. Ultimately, the military lifestyle has helped Beth grow socially. She is a more cultured individual and she is able to get along with many different kinds of people because of it.
"Being separated from my family and friends definitely does affect me, and it's very difficult for me to adjust."
Gracie is a happy-go-lucky eight year old, who is in second grade. Don't let her cuteness fool you, she is a tough little girl. Her dad has been in the Navy for 18 years and she is the only girl among three brothers. In Gracie's eight years of life, she has lived in four places, including one foreign country. She has had to say goodbye to her favorite homes, her friends, and sometimes, her dad. Gracie recalls the times growing up when she had to say goodbye to her father and not see him for long periods of time. When asked what the most difficult part of being a military child was, Gracie responded, "having my dad gone." Gracie has had to go through a lot in her short life from having to continuously adjust to new people and places, to dealing with missing her dad when he's gone. Luckily, Gracie has a great support system behind her to ensure she stays happy and healthy.
Jack has played sports ever since he could walk. He has played all kinds of sports, but mainly focuses on soccer and baseball now that he’s older. His dad is incredibly influential on his ongoing athletic success. But, because Jack’s dad is a marine, he has not always been there to be able to help Jack develop as an athlete.
“[My dad] would leave for six months at a time, and it was different not having him around, but you just have to get used to it.”
Not only was his dad not there to coach him or support him at sporting events, but his family also relocated a lot. These transitions often had an effect on Jack’s sports life. Jack would have to try to prove that he was worthy of certain positions.
“I like meeting new people and seeing new places, but transitioning into sports teams was always hard,” he remarks.
Jack encourages other military children to put the past behind them, jump into wherever they move next, and make the best of it.
Hannah Glathar was born in Florida, currently lives in Virginia, and has lived everywhere in between. A 21-year-old senior at Cedarville University, Hannah has lived in ten places, including two foreign countries, Hannah considers herself a very cultured individual. When asked about her experience growing up as a military child, Hannah stated that continually leaving friends was the most difficult part of the lifestyle. “Moving from Japan to Virginia was especially difficult because I moved to a place with very few military kids in my neighborhood or school. Most friends were established and it was hard to fit into their circles the same way” Hannah recalls. At the same time, the transitions have made her more flexible and adventurous.
As far as education goes, Hannah has had to adjust to new procedures, campuses, and social groups. When she attended a new school, she would always ask teachers or classmates about rules and procedures and ask for additional help if she needed it. Although the military lifestyle has been difficult, Hannah wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. Her advice to anyone currently experiencing the hardships she went through is: “to be shameless in being who you are. Non-military kids are different, but often very interested in the military life. Share about your life and also look to learn about other people’s lives. It’s the best way to transition into their world.”
"Be shameless in being who you are. Non-military kids are different, but often very interested in the military life."
Rebekah is a sixteen year old sophomore who enjoys dance and theater. Growing up as a military child, Rebekah had to adjust to changing dance schools often.
"Most of the time it's easy to jump in, but I felt like the dancers who had been at the school for years always got the leads and were favored by the teachers."
For Rebekah, this is a blessing and a curse. She is motivated to work harder on learning her dances, making her a better dancer in the end. On the other hand, she often has to put in more effort than some of her peers. Despite some of these difficulties, Rebekah thinks there are many perks to moving around. "I like exploring new places, living in new houses, and meeting new people."
When asked about some of the places she's lived, she listed Japan as one of her favorites. "It took a while to get used to a new country, language, and culture, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything," she says. Rebekah currently resides in Louisiana, right outside of New Orleans. With her dad expected to stay in this location until she graduates, Rebekah is hoping she can mold a future around dancing and theater in one of the most musical cities in the US.