It’s that time of year. The summer is winding down. The last-minute dash to get all the school supplies. Backpacks are being packed. The streets will soon be lined with kids waiting for their school buses.
And the daily trek for those who walk to school will begin and our Facebook feeds are filling up with first day photos.
This year, I started thinking about the first day of school for the families that just arrived here at Fort Hood. Whether it is your first time here or maybe your kids have some friends from a previous duty station, the first day of school can be nerve-wracking for students and parents alike.
I think back to my childhood. We didn’t grow up in the military, but we did move a lot due to my dad’s profession. I remember those first day of school jitters. I mean, let’s be honest — I still get those same jitters when we PCS. Will I make friends? Will they like me? Will I fit in?
And what I have learned from watching our military children is, the answer is yes. They are so strong and resilient. For me, they are the welcome wagons. I wrote in an earlier column how one of our neighbor’s children was the first to welcome me to the street. She was kind and inquisitive. Her genuine interest in where we had come from made me feel right at home.
Every few years, our military children see new teachers and live in new cities, often new countries. They adapt. They say goodbye to old friends and hello to new ones. They build their network of friends that span the globe. We ask a lot of our military children, not just with the moving around, but with the distance from a parent during deployments.
We ask them to start over more often than we may like.
There are many resources to help our military families as the we ask our children to deal with and manage the constant change. I want to touch on a couple.
The first resource I want to mention is Military OneSource.
It provides information, answers and support.
As military life demands more of us, this is a resource “to live your best mil-life.”
The website offers help during this busy back to school season. In fact, a recent article on their website provided tips to make the school transition easier for military families about enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility and graduation.
The second resource is each other. You are not alone in this transition. One of my favorite things from this duty station has been the back-to-school bashes prior to the first day to allow students to get to know each other. It also serves as a reminder to parents that you have your support system.
Back to school also reminded me of the important role parents play in their kids learning process. At home, as they help with homework or discuss the school days around the dinner table, or in the car.
Parents are the number one advocates for their children.
They step in to make sure their children get the help and assistance they may need.
We have all seen it first hand, the impact military spouses can have when it comes to championing the best learning landscape for their child to succeed. The impact these parents can have is widespread.
The drive comes from their own child, but the result impacts many other military families.
As you begin laying out school clothes or packing lunches, remember there is a support system online and off to help with the transition back into the routine of the school year.
Reena O’Brien is a military spouse and Herald correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.