We often talk about the challenges Special Forces Families face raising children, but we sometimes neglect to talk about what Special Forces Families can teach the rest of us about family. At the heart of every Green Beret’s family is the knowledge that life is precious — and not promised. That fundamental truth underlies the choices these families make to lead interesting, disciplined and fulfilling lives. Here are some of the things that Special Forces Families can teach us all:
Something bigger. The Green Beret Family knows that the Soldier is part of something bigger than himself. He is serving his country in a profound way, deploying more often and for longer than others in the military and often in the most dangerous areas of the world. It is part of our mission here at Special Forces Charitable Trust to help Soldiers’ Families know that they, too, are serving this higher cause. We do that through our Family Resiliency Retreats and training, and through family functions like fun days for children and teens, Father-Son trips and Daddy-Daughter dances. One of the benefits of knowing you’re part of something bigger than yourself is that you’re less likely to be self-centered. Now that’s something the world could use, right?
Resilience. Even the youngest members of Special Forces Families learn to be resilient. The parents in these families typically have a plan for what happens when the Soldier/Dad abruptly leaves for parts unknown. Every member knows what’s expected — who will pick up what chores, who will need to shift roles, how the absence of Dad will affect Mom’s ability to work, manage child care, after-school activities and the household. When Dad returns, the Family must make adjustments again to accommodate. Children learn that change is nothing to fear, and that flexibility is one of the keys to stability.
Communication. Special Forces Families learn to become excellent communicators! They have to be, to survive the emotional toll that dangerous deployments take. Families learn that coherent rules and expectations for those in the household, clearly communicated, help the Family thrive when the Soldier is deployed — and when he’s at home. One of the lessons children learn about communication is that it’s the quality, not the quantity that matters. A Green Beret may not be able to call home or use email frequently. Because occasions for communication are rare, a Special Forces Family learns to make the most of each chance to connect.
There are a lot of ways you can help us support these special Special Forces Families. You can spread the word about our organization, you can organize a fundraiser, or you can donate money. Learn how at our website.