Last blog, we talked about the first characteristic of a Hero at Home: a sense of humor.
Another characteristic of a Hero at Home is Courage: When your military member is deployed into the theater, you have one role and that is to tell them, “we love you, we are proud of you and we will be all right.” You do NOT vent on them, tell them about all your troubles, rant and rave or say negative things. You can vent with a trusted friend, a chaplain or even your puppy dog—but you do NOT vent on your military member when he is deployed. The reason is this: your loved one is there to do a job. He took an oath to serve our country and he is doing his duty. He is not over there to get away from you, he is there to serve honorably as he was so aptly trained to do so.
If a military member is distracted because of issues at home, then distractions can lead to accidents and accidents can lead to loss of life. So the best thing you can do is be supportive when they are deployed. Send care packages, tell them “We love you, we are proud of you and we will be all right.”
I have given this “Heroes at Home” message around the world over 100 times. A few years ago, I was sent up to Alaska to give it to the Stryker Brigade. The unit had been deployed for a year and when they were due to come home, plans changed and ½ of them came home and were immediately redeployed. The other half did not come home as the entire unit was extended another 4 months.
The young spouses of these military members were furious, they were upset at the changes. The President sent the Sec of Defense out to speak to the spouses and the community brought me out for a special USAA sponsored “Heroes at Home” presentation.
As I spoke to these young wives, I emphasized the point about not venting and how that can lead to accidents. As they left the event, they said, “Now I know what I need to do.”
Three days after our team left Alaska, I received a phone call. One of the ladies who was in the audience was given notification that her husband would not be coming home. As she was notified, she said, “I’m so glad that I went to the Heroes at Home conference because the last time I spoke to my husband on the phone, I was going to vent on him. I was so mad that the Army had extended them during the holidays and my husband is my best friend, I tell him everything. But instead of venting, I can live with the fact that the last words I ever spoke to him were simply, “Sweetheart, I love you, I am proud you and I’ll be all right.”
Yes, a Hero at Home is courageous and that is what you are. There are 8 more characteristics that we don’t have time to cover this morning, but they are my book. I believe that every military family whether you are parents, grandparents, siblings, a spouse or another loved one can not only survive this military family lifestyle, but you can thrive as you rise to the challenge of becoming the Heroes at Home that you are meant to become.
How do you find yourself being courageous as a Hero at Home?