The life of a military kid is commonly put into one major category involving a lot of moving, one parent gone constantly and a life filled with emotional handicaps. Conflicting with widespread opinions, not every military kid experience is the same.
My own experience with being a military kid is not the horror story most people expect. My father joined the Air Force before I was born. From my recollection, I don’t remember him being gone very often. By the time he was stationed in the Unites States, those memories of his absence were suppressed by the developing mind of a toddler.
My family only moved twice. The first move I don’t remember at all, and the second wasn’t very traumatic either. The only fear that resonated during his service for me was the threat of him being called into action overseas, especially when the 2000’s came around. He retired in 2004, finishing up 22 years of service.
Lanae Kindermann, a freshman at JBU, has a father who served in the Air Force for 26 years. Her father used to be in the Air Force Academy Band, and while he was not overseas, he was still gone from home a lot. Kindermann recounts, “It was awesome as a little kid having them (the band) all know me, and I would go up on stage and hang out with them in the back, it was a lot of fun.”
She says the hardest part was her father being gone from home a lot, but with her dad retired as of this year, she is glad to spend more time with him.
Zac Sandell, a sophomore at JBU, has a father who served on a Navy submarine. While Zac didn’t exist when his father served, his father’s military life still had some impact on him.
When asked if he would join the military, Zac gave a shrug that only military kids give. A shrug of “I don’t know” mixed with the look of deep and hidden thought. “. . . while order, structure and all that is nice, it does change a man . . . which can be tough to adapt to.”
Zac thinks there should be order and structure in life, but that it doesn’t necessarily have to come from being in service.
Zoë Shafer, a freshman at JBU, has a father who also served in the Navy. Zoë’s family made a big move from Arkansas to Yokosuka, Japan, and lived on the base there for about five years. Zoë says her experience from moving to a different country transformed her, especially in her faith. “I went to Japan as a spiked pastor’s daughter and came back a devoted believer.”
The benefits received from her father’s military life also helped with medical needs, schooling and above all, an unforgettable transformation of growth. Shafer said if it weren’t for the Navy she wouldn’t be able to attend JBU, and is thankful for all the opportunities it gave her.
How could four stories with the same basic principle end up so different? No two are the same, and none will ever be the same. Let us remember these stories not as a book series, but as a collection of books, each with its own priceless experience and unique adventure to share.