Each of us has multiple roles in life. As the day goes by, we
may be a service member, spouse, parent, relative, neighbor or a
combination of them all. We transition from one role to the
other with varying degrees of grace and ease. Some transitions
are easier than others. Maybe we sit down to help a child with
homework, but our minds are still spinning about work or the care of
an elderly parent.
During Military Family Month in November, as we honor and
celebrate the service and sacrifice of our modern military families,
it's a good time to talk about the
Family Readiness System. This is a network of agencies,
programs, services, and people working collectively to best support
the readiness, quality of life and the resilience of military
families. Resilience is the foundation of a strong military
family; the purpose of the Family Readiness System is to strengthen
that foundation. It does so through an integrated service
delivery model for social services to meet each military family's
life challenges and needs with access to an entire system of support
and pertinent resources offered by the DoD, community organizations
and helping professionals.
When you have a strong family, you are able to be more centered
as a person, a professional or a parent. That's what allows us
to put the day's work behind us when we need to focus on meeting the
needs of our family, such as making a healthy dinner, helping with
homework, getting children ready for bed – any one of a long list of
responsibilities that make a difference in the lives of those we
love. Every parent wants to be a better parent, but you don't
have to beat yourself up if you miss the mark. It is okay to
ask for help.
As part of the Family Readiness System, families have access to
New Parent Support Program, which includes home visitations by
helping professionals, such as nurses or social workers, parenting
education and other services to help young families understand the
developmental needs of their young children, because informed
parenting has been shown to promote positive child outcomes
throughout their lifetime.
There is much more available through the Family Readiness System,
because life requires a synergistic approach to achieve quality
relationships and for families to be dynamic and responsive to
changing needs, developmental tasks and challenges. We want
our modern military families to celebrate their successes and learn
from their failures.
Another critical component of the Military Family Readiness
confidential, non-medical counseling, which is aimed at
preventing the development or exacerbation of mental health
conditions that may detract from military and family readiness.
No-cost assistance is available from anywhere 24/7/365 by visiting
OneSource or calling 800-342-9647.
We want the modern military family to have easy access to support
whether they go online to
OneSource visit a local military and family support center, the
child development program, their chaplain or a health provider.
There is no wrong door to seek help.
We encourage you to explore these links and to share this message
with members of your family and fellow military families.
Military Family Month is a perfect time to acknowledge the pride,
commitment and love that we see in our military families and to
share with them the resources available to them when they need them.
If you share this over social media, we invite you to include the
hashtag #MyMilFam to be part of a global shout out to military
families. Let them know how special they are and celebrate
their diversity. Today's military families are quite diverse,
from single-parent families, dual-military, same-sex, male spouse,
no two are quite alike, but each one is essential to our service
members' mission. Use the hashtag to send them your
encouragement and love when they need it most.
November is an ideal time to express your appreciation to a
neighbor, friend or colleague who is part of a military family and
to thank them for their vital service at home and in the community.
Volunteering in support of military families is a great way to show
your appreciation. Check out the
Joining Forces website for lots of information about
volunteering in support of military families. By appreciating,
supporting and investing in military families, we invest in the
strength of our nation.
By Barbara Thompson
Children and Youth
Defense Department Office of Family Policy
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