Tips on Becoming The High School Club President

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When you enter college, the deans and administrators will not only look for high grades and attendances. They also delve into your extracurricular activities. Committees who ‘filter’ students coming into their department scan the students’ experience and dedication in the organizations that they have been members of in their high school years. “It’s a great way to build your professional skills including leadership, teamwork, communication, and prioritization,” says career coach Alina Tubman. “All these skills are necessary for students applying to jobs and internships.” 

Of course, they’re also interested in your mental and physical health or whether you went into detention or therapy, but a huge part of what they’re looking for are the competitions, recognition, and leadership positions you had in the past. 

If you happen to ask your old classmates who are applying to different colleges, they would also realize the same thing: extracurricular activities play a vital role in college admissions. And according to Judy Willis, MD, “Extracurricular activity participation in school and community clubs, teams, and organizations helps increase children’s confidence in pursuing higher goals by first building their confidence areas of strength and interest within their comfort zones.” So if you were president of one of your favorite high school clubs, then you probably have one leg inside that department already. Being the club president will serve as your ticket to the admissions people that you have the capacity to take on responsibility, with which you will face plenty in college life. 

But, really, how does one go from being a usual club member to being the president of the club? Here are some tips on how to be chosen as president of your favorite high school club. 

  • Get To Know Your Fellow Members. If you’ve been in an organization for about a year, chances are, you already know most of your fellow club members. Slowly reach out to your closest ones and inform them of your intention of becoming president. Listen to them and ask them to honestly tell you about the issues that they want to be addressed. Make a mental list of these issues and think about how you can eliminate them if you were given the opportunity. Also, establish a friendship with the club advisor, as he or she will have other insights that you, as students don’t often see. 
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Build Trust And Leadership. This is another crucial step in becoming club president. You must show the other members that you are respectable and well-mannered. Practice the art of listening because it is a valuable trait that every leader must possess. These qualities you must show even before you do not have plans of becoming club president, as every member must learn to respect and treat another without judgment. Be a good role model in terms of completing tasks and following guidelines. Take the club seriously so that everyone will rely on you and trust you. 

“Good leadership is knowing where to lead people,” wrote Dr. Stephen McKenzie, psychologist and author of Mindfulness at Work. “The essence of knowing where to lead other people is knowing where to lead ourselves. We have to discover our full working potential before we can lead others to discover their full working potential.”

Learn The Club Rules And Election Process. This is a rather technical matter that you can discuss with your faculty adviser since she is expected to have more knowledge on this than anyone in the club. For instance, some organizations require someone else to nominate you formally for you to be eligible to run for club president. In others, there is no need. You can just express your intention of running or simply nominate yourself. Additionally, some clubs don’t have a formal election procedure. Instead, the club president is appointed by the current club leadership or the faculty adviser herself. 

Compose An Eloquent Speech. There’s usually a formal campaign period where the candidates are asked to deliver a speech to summarize their intent, their goals, and their plans for the club. Write a powerful speech and take it seriously. Be genuine with your words and don’t fill it with flowery phrases that would only tarnish the trust that you’ve started to build among the members. This is probably the only time that you can voice out how you feel about the club and what you want for the club to succeed. Finally, end your speech by telling them of a quote that represents your vision for the club – one that is in line with the organization’s recent mission and goals. And then do not forget to thank everyone. 

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In Case You Don’t Become The Club President… 

It may sound cliché, but yes, losing is part of the game. Make a graceful exit. Do not become a sore loser – everybody hates a sore loser. Be someone who remains confident that there is something that the club can offer. You might not be president this year, but because you have shown utter dignity, you will be chosen to be vice president, or the PR guy, which means that you will emerge stronger next year. 

Being a club president does look striking on your college applications, but it is not the end of you and where you hope to be. There are other equally important leadership roles that you can create where none existed in the past. 

11 TV Shows That Can Teach New York Kids A Thing Or Two About Survival

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Growing up as a child in New York may be a dream for some, but others who experience it tend to frequent a psychotherapist’s office more often than someone who was born and bred in the country. Despite the excessive number of opportunities that can open up for you in the Big Apple, after all, you have to deal with many problems as well. E.g., hours of traffic, water and air pollution, high housing costs, et cetera. 

Apart from that, being a city sleeker entails that these kids may not be able to adapt quickly to a new environment. That is especially true if they get displaced in the wild, yet the most outdoorsy thing that they have ever done is sleep in a tent in the backyard. 

Considering you want to teach survival tips to your children, you may allow them to watch the following shows. 

1. Combat Zone 

Combat Zone is a documentary TV series shown on the Military Channel in 2007 to show us what the lives of military men and women are like when they are on the battlefield. 

It makes viewers realize that to come out alive from a place where a lot of adversaries can target you at any angle, you need to be determined and focused on what’s happening around you. 

2. Falling Skies 

A series produced for TV by Steven Spielberg, Falling Skies is about the new state that world has been in six months after the alien invasion, and how a band of survivors in Massachusetts has joined forces to reclaim the planet Earth. 

The show explains to us using more than words the only way you can continue to live after an apocalypse, which is an event that elicits fear from most humans. 

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3. Doomsday Preppers 

The concept of Doomsday Preppers centers on some people in the United States who are already preparing for the day that the planet will not be able to stand still. 

How to be always prepared for the worst to happen is what we can learn from this reality show. No one can predict when Doomsday will come, but having the essentials packed – food, clothes, floating devices, et cetera – for you and your family beforehand is not a bad idea. 

4. Life After People 

Life After People was a two-season television show that, as the title implies, discusses what disastrous incidences will take place in various critical locations in the globe in case the humans vanish all of a sudden. 

It will be unfortunate if the predictions made in the series will come to reality. Nonetheless, it still is a must to know all these probable aftermaths so that we can ensure that humans will not perish entirely from the face of the Earth. 

5. Man, Woman, Wild 

Man, Woman, Wild is a reality TV series in which a real-life husband and wife stay in the most remote places across the globe without complete rations. 

This show helps us appreciate the importance of learning some survival techniques even if you are with someone who is an expert at it. Hopefully, it does not happen in reality. In case that person disappears, though, at least you are equipped to rely on your skills. 

6. Top Sniper 

Another survival show on the Military Channel, Top Sniper, archives a competition held at Fort Benning, Georgia to decide which among their sniper teams is the best. 

The sniper’s sharp eyes and precision at handling their gun can save lives – theirs and their comrades’ – during an encounter. For the civilians, these traits remind us that we have to stay alert and grounded at all times if we want to survive an attack – physically, emotionally or mentally. 

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7. The Walking Dead 

The Walking Dead provides the audience with a glimpse of a world that is swamped by zombies that can spread a mysterious type virus on the living and turn them into zombies as well. 

We have seen from the TV series how surviving in that kind of circumstance as a breathing human is close to impossible. Despite that, the characters have also exhibited that if you can’t win against them, leave the town and avoid them for as long as you can. 

8. Top Shot 

Top Shot is a show for sharpshooters that features two opposing teams consisting of eight members each who battle it out to see who is most skilled in using diverse kinds of weapons. The winner brings home the prize money amounting to $100,000 and becomes the “Top Shot.” 

This reality show encourages people to be expert in not just one thing. Even if what you know is not related to artillery, if it’s fire-making, for instance, your knowledge has to extend beyond rubbing two stones together. 

9. The Colony 

The Colony revolves around the story of a family that is fighting to survive in a dystopian Los Angeles, which has been conquered by a new military organization which acts upon the orders of extraterrestrial beings. 

Spectators are presented with two ways to survive in such a situation – you can either display your allegiance to the people who hold power or resist them with all your might. However, no matter what you choose, you need to stand by it. 

10. Survivors 

A European flu has eradicated almost all of mankind in the Survivors series. The ones who are not infected by the contagion have had to endure on their own. 

Survivors aim to widen our perception about a world that is not governed by any law or society and offers demonstrations on how one can get out of difficult settings without much outside help. 

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

 

11. Man Vs. Wild 

Man vs. Wild is a show hosted by Bear Grylls who journeys to various parts of the world to test his strengths and limitations when it comes to survival. 

Whether you get abandoned in a seemingly barren desert or a wild forest, you can learn from Man vs. Wild the effective way to stay hydrated, warm and well-fed in these places on your own. 

Final Thoughts 

Even if many of the shows mentioned above may not be in mainstream media anymore, you can still find episodes or clips of them on the internet. Find the ones that are suitable for your kids’ age and enlighten them about the importance of learning how to survive in any circumstance. 

Good luck! 

Mental Health Benefits Of Joining A Club For Students

When students enter high school or university as freshmen, they may get overwhelmed by the number of clubs wanting to recruit them as new members. “For older kids, after-school activities can be very important as protection against more dangerous activities,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Mary Rooney, “particularly if parents are busy at work or with other children.”

From the second they set foot at the school, after all, folks from the football or music groups may come up to tell the benefits of being in their respective organizations. The theater or dance club may also hold a little performance to entice the students to become one of them. Of course, the academic circles participate and look for more brainy fellows. 

While having many club options allows people to choose the most suitable one for them, some become indecisive and have a hard time selecting any. Others end up clubless, especially when they realize that it’s possible to survive the first year without it. 

Nevertheless, joining a club does not merely give students like you instant friends or study buddies. It can be advantageous for your mental health, which is undeniably vital in an educational yet competitive environment. The following are the perks you can get from the activity. 

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1. Boost Your Confidence 

The primary benefit of becoming a school club member is that it may increase your self-esteem. According to Barbara Markway, Ph.D., “Self-confidence is linked to almost every element involved in a happy and fulfilling life.” Since you will be seeing the same people in that group, you have no choice but to introduce yourself and hopefully befriend them. They will encourage you as well to get out of your shell and show your talents. The more you interact with these students, the more you may feel confident about talking to others. 

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2. Gain A New Experience 

There is rarely a rule stating that a student has no right to join two clubs at the same time, considering they do not have similar activities. For example, one focuses on geology, while the other is all about archery. It is advisable to do so, to be honest, primarily when you wish to expand your skillset and be excellent at more than a single activity.  As career coach Alina Tubman stated, “It’s a great way to build your professional skills including leadership, teamwork, communication, and prioritization. All these skills are necessary for students applying to jobs and internships.” 

You won’t find any clause either that requires every member of the organization to become the best in their field of interest. You may have a background knowledge regarding the matter or merely be curious about what folks do in that club, and they may still accept you. 

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3. Have An Outlet For Stress 

Furthermore, entering a group that likes the same things that you do can effectively make your stressful day better. If you are a choir member, for instance, and you have issues back home that affect your academic performance, you may use music to turn the negative energy into something positive. You can belt out a powerful song, pour your heart into a ballad, or sing upbeat tunes to distract yourself from the problem. Hence, once the session is over, your stress level may no longer be soaring as well. 

Final Thoughts 

As mentioned above, when you join a club, you do not only have people to share your interests with or a place to go to during break time. It is not merely excellent for your resume either when you are ready to enter the workforce. The truth is that becoming a part of an organization whose beliefs you stand behind can keep you from acquiring depression, anxiety, and other disorders that will surely endanger your mental health. 

 
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Simple Activities For You And Your Friends’ Mental Wellness

The modern world nowadays has already become more and more sensitive and aware of the mental wellness of every one of us. “Mental illnesses can take a toll on our physical health, like increased blood pressure or a hormonal imbalance, and leave people feeling less engages and focused,” says Jason Walker, PsyD. Companies, schools, and community organizations have made it a thing to create programs and initiate activities that would promote the mental health of their respective employees, students, staff, and the whole community in general.  

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However, some may be repulsed by the idea of joining a large group of people for activities geared towards mental betterment. Well, it’s okay if you and your friend or circle of friends initiate your simple undertaking and recreation to relieve some stress and increase each other’s emotional resilience.  

Here are some fun and light ideas that you can enjoy and kick off informally:  

Walk/ Jog/Run  

Inactiveness and a sedentary lifestyle are usually the main contributors to heart problems, obesity, and eventually loss of self-confidence. Together with your closest friends, find time to jog together around the neighborhood or to some green parks to relieve some tension and breathe fresher air. Also, according to Dr. Elena Touroni, a consultant psychologist, “Running regulates circadian rhythms, hence getting longer and restful sleep becomes easy.”

Sometimes, stress of the mind can also be brought by the chaotic surroundings (could be the pile of books, mountains of documents, and empty boxes of checklists in your room and your phone) that you can’t seem to get rid of.  

On a more technical side, exercise releases endorphins and enkephalins, which are known as the chemicals responsible for your body to feel good (a.k.a. natural painkillers). Psychologists frequently recommend exercise to their mentally- and emotionally-exhausted patients. Doing these simple exercises with your friends can also give you a break from damaging self-talk and self-pity.  

Yoga At Home  

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Aside from the fact that it improves flexibility, Yoga is now receiving attention and much appreciation for its benefits on the mental and emotional health of everyone. The coordinated poses you do in yoga not just burn calories and relieve tight muscle joints or tensions but they also help in freeing your mind and soul from anxiety.  “Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system,” says Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D.

It is also good prevention of mental problems as it is an effective practice to increase one’s heart rate variability, which aids in the body’s ability to respond and react properly to stress.  

Dance/Join A Dance Or Zumba Class  

Sometimes, the constricted lifestyle and sedentary way of living contribute much to the decrease of one’s emotional resilience. Dance, move and get lively with your friends to boost your mood, your cognitive skills, and your energy levels. Moreover, you can also meet new people to have fun, talk and laugh with during the dancing sessions.  

Coffee And Tea Party  

Smile, laugh and reminisce those funny memories you had together way back. This way, you will also see how far you have come and how tough you became for the challenges you have conquered because you are what you are now. Recognize each other’s progress and maybe plan something to reward yourselves (e.g., a vacation plan for all of you, a shopping spree).   

You can also discuss some light topics over coffee and tea (or pizza). It can also be the case that your friends’ differing attitudes, stories, and perspectives will ignite some motivation and inspiration for you.  

Sleepover And Chill  

Netflix and chill. Order to-go snacks and meals. Forget about the calories (if you are a calorie-conscious person) to treat yourself and do your body a favor (a.k.a. a cheat day!). Have some heart-to-heart talks with your friends.  

Before you know it, you are already sharing your problems and opening up with them. And there they are, cheering and giving you fresh perspectives and new solutions to resolve whatever’s bugging you. 

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The idea behind these simple activities and endeavors is to take a break, free your mind from the thoughts of schoolwork, office tasks, and everyday insecurities. Doing such activities with your friends has more positive and useful effects. Make it a habit of doing these activities regularly, if not every week, to exercise your mental and emotional resilience.  

Random Acts Of Kindness

Perhaps, everyone has already heard about the so-called ‘modern heroes’ that schools and the social media glorify. There’s the cab driver who returned a huge lump sum of money to the business. There’s the boy who saved children from drowning. There’s another one who saved stranded animals from the flood. Add those medical students who randomly save sick people or assist moms giving birth on the streets, or even on a plane flying mid-air.

Perhaps you are overwhelmed by these deeds. Or maybe you have already asked yourselves these: Do I need to be a doctor to save lives? Do I need to go to calamity-stricken places just to show my kindness? Do I need to be a full grown-up to help people? Do I need someone to post my good deeds on the internet?

The answer? It’s a simple ‘no.’ Dr. Julia Breur, LMFT, says, “Inauthentic people often judge others as a way of gaining control. Be careful, because some people may use kindness to try to control you.”

Definition of Kindness

Try looking up the word ‘Kindness’ on any search engines or dictionary, and it will give you the following similar words: friendly, gentle, considerate, helpful, respectful, and generous among others. Kindness, in its general sense, only means doing something kind to other people. This deed doesn’t need to be extravagant. It doesn’t need to be loud. It just needs to give a positive feeling for both parties.

For Ilene Berns-Zare PsyD, “Hope and kindness are two character strengths that can invigorate our awareness.  Hope, or future-mindedness, involves expecting a good future and working to achieve it. Kindness is care, generosity, and compassion for others.”

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‘Kindness’ doesn’t entail that the doer of the action should expect something in return. Showing someone your ‘kindness’ will never be your ticket to get a high score on an upcoming exam. Displaying ‘kindness’ in front of teachers will never guarantee you a gold medal in graduation. The act of kindness is never a request for some Divine Being to grant your wishes in mind.

Simple Gestures

No matter how young you may be, you can manifest appreciation and kindness anywhere. A school is a ‘mini community’ that can be considered a perfect replica of the real world. You, even as a student, may not even realize that what you just did this morning is already an act of kindness.

Below is a small list of gestures in school that you may not have realized yet is a simple definition of kindness:  

  • Opening the door for teachers, classmates, or for those behind you
  • Greeting school staff, janitors, and canteen vendors a pleasant morning
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  • Shooting waste correctly into the trash bins
  • Following simple hallway signs (No loiteringSilence please, No vandalizing)
  • Falling in any lines properly
  • Sharing vacant seats from your table in the cafeteria
  • Taking good care of school property (following proper computer care, not tearing and folding pages of books from the library, etc.)
  • Keeping the toilet clean for the next user
  • Not participating in any bullying
  • Doing small favors for your classmates (sharing notes and references, doing group studies)
  • Smiling
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A deed of kindness doesn’t need to be posted on different social sites or even shared on a counseling platform, shared in every stranger chat as much as it doesn’t need to be photo-shared by millions and become viral. Maybe you should try it right now, greet schoolmates in the hallways, smile at unfamiliar students in the cafeteria, or offer younger pupils old notes for reference. Never wait for something in return. A returned smile from your newly found friends will surely be enough.

“Make a stranger smile with an act of kindness. Even the smallest gesture can mean a great deal to someone in need. So, always try to do your part and help make the world a kinder place.” – Mariana Pascha, Psychologist.

 

Planting The Seeds To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude

Every holiday season, we’re told to reflect more on the things we’re thankful for. But it doesn’t just have to be in the holidays. Developing a gratitude mindset can be enjoyed all year round. “We need to make expressing gratitude a daily practice. It would make us and our interactions, not just our holidays, much more positive,” says Pinellas psychologist Valeria Moore. Not only does it give way to positive thinking and happiness, but it also promotes cooperation and kindness within a community. Here’s how you can start to cultivate this mindset.

Start a Gratitude Journal

Let’s start it off easy. Grab a simple notebook or journal you can write on. Find a comfortable spot to sit on and think about the things you are grateful for. It may be difficult for some people to do this as they may not be comfortable confronting their own emotions, but remember that this is private time.  You don’t have to let anyone read your gratitude journal if you don’t want to.

Some people may also find it difficult to turn this into a habit. After all, it may seem like another chore you have to do every day. It doesn’t have to be that way. Work through it gradually. You don’t have to write every day, just make sure to make an entry at least once a week. You can do this at the end of the week when you’re looking back at everything that had happened for the past days.

Source: thehappiempire.com

 

To make things even easier, you can write about one specific something you’re grateful for. Then, you can add details. Why are you thankful for this? Who was involved that you should give thanks? How can you help pass this on to others? You’ll soon find that the writing will just flow naturally.

Write Someone a Letter

It’s time to go old-school. Sit down at your desk and bring out the lovely stationery. Amie M. Gordon, Ph.D. wrote, ” In all of the studies, people felt significantly happier than normal after they had taken a few minutes to write a gratitude letter.” Think back to someone who has made a positive impact on your life. It could be a parent, a significant other, or even a grade-school teacher. Reflect on how they have influenced your life and write that down in a letter. Be specific and add in as much detail as you can. Tell them about the good that you’ve done because of it. It’ll make their day, and it passes on good vibes around to everyone.

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Take a Break from Life

Sometimes it’s hard to take a step back when you’re all caught up in life. In the digital age, everything happens so quickly. So put the phone down, step away from the computer and enjoy some downtime.

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Putting yourself in a situation where you’re not so distracted by everything will allow you to think clearly. It’ll give you time to focus on things that have happened, making you remember past events you may be thankful for. Doing this also allows you to live in the moment, enjoying the now and being grateful for it. On the other hand, Alena Gerst, LCSW says, “Consciously acknowledging gratitude first thing in the morning sets the tone for me to be aware of everything for which I’m grateful throughout the day.”

Give Yourself Credit

Like RuPaul likes to say, “If you don’t love yourself, then how you gonna love someone else?” It’s the same for being grateful. You have to give yourself credit for the things you do and for getting by. Acknowledge your achievements, and don’t compare yourself to others. Recognize that you are following your own pace. Learn to look at even the little things and self-appreciate.

 

 

 

How To Show Appreciation To Your Spouse

 

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When couples get married and eventually start a family, they tend to neglect their love for one another as a shift to fulfill duties and obligations arise. Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D. wrote, “Similarly, the purpose of a marriage or life partnership also involves an emotional support system.” There are many strategies that marriage counselors and therapists recommend to sustain a healthy and meaningful marriage life. This article will focus on the most common and simple ways to protect your relationship and love for each other.

Effects of being taken for granted

Underappreciation is one of the many reasons why couples fight, find someone else to fill the gap, and eventually, get separated and divorced. Women especially go into bouts of depression and low self-esteem, while husbands may feel belittled if their partners do not show any single appreciation of the things that they do. On the other hand, Diana Kirschner Ph.D. says, “Happy couples give their partners the benefit of the doubt when they do something that is disappointing or hurtful. Instead of mean-spirited criticism, rejection, or attack, they often see good or simply uninformed intentions underlying what their partners do or say.”

Appreciate Your Spouse

Saying thank you can go a long way, especially if you say this to your spouse with more love and tenderness. “Appreciating your spouse is a binding factor in relationships,” says Elizabeth McCormick, a licensed social worker. A ‘thank you’ can be expressed from the very simplest manner of just blurting it out after a deed or task being done. Still, there are other unique ways to extend this positive vibe. Here are some unique ways to show appreciation:

Source: elle.ru

 

  1. Make breakfast in bed and place a thank you note on the tray. Exert some effort to wake up early and prepare breakfast for your partner.
  2. Leave thank you notes in the bathroom mirror, on the fridge or anywhere that he/she will see immediately.
  3. In the norms of social media mainstream, posting a thank you message in Facebook or tweeting thank you to your spouse can be very influential and can increase one’s self-esteem.
  4. Arrange a date and take a couples alone time together to talk about the things that you appreciate.
  5. Buy him/her a gift and add a thank you note. It does not have to be super fancy. The thought that you take the time to get that basketball shoes he always wanted or the handbag that she always goes back to check in the shop will be sufficient. This will surely make your partner’s day sparkle.
  6. Show off your gratitude by hugging and kissing. Physical contact is believed to help release endorphins or our happy hormones. It does not only makes us grateful, but it will also help to show how you love your partner for being there always.
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The strategies above are just some of the few that you can try to demonstrate amorous affection and appreciation to your spouse. You can modify it or even add more spice just to make it more exciting. Getting married may be the final step to be together. However, staying married is a lifelong commitment to keeping the relationship afloat and the fire of love burning.

What I Learned Growing Up As A Military Brat

As a daughter of a man in the Air Force, I identify with several other teenagers and young adults who are part of the military culture. While my father’s career was not a choice I made, I chose to embrace the “military brat” moniker. Sure, it’s tough, but growing up in this culture and environment taught me valuable lessons that help set me for life as a young adult.

Punctuality

One of the things particularly instilled in me is punctuality. There goes a saying, “early is on time; on time is late.” I would always strive to at least be 15 minutes early to any appointment or meeting. This gives me enough time to prep, especially for any sudden changes that may come up. It also shows professionalism, as well as good time management skills. Harriet Mellotte, a cognitive behavioral therapist and a clinical psychologist, wrote, “The punctually-challenged are often excruciatingly aware and ashamed of the damage their lateness could do to their relationships, reputations, careers, and finances.”

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Discipline

When people think of the armed forces, “discipline” is often the first word to come to mind. It’s no different when it comes to us children. No room or time for rebellious phases and acts. If I’ve committed myself to work on something, I stick to it. On how to improve one’s self-discipline, psychotherapist Amy Morin has this to say: “Visualize yourself meeting your goals and reaping the rewards that you’ll gain by practicing self-discipline on a daily basis.”

Growing up, I would gradually develop self-discipline. I didn’t need to wait for my father to point out something before I acted upon it or fixed it myself. Although fixing myself wasn’t always the best thing for me, something I didn’t realize until speaking with a therapist online.

Hard Work

Nowadays, people like to call out my generation for acting very entitled. We “millennials” supposedly have everything given to us on a silver platter. I beg to differ. Growing up, I had to work for everything I needed and wanted. This isn’t to say that my parents didn’t provide me with my basic needs, but it also wasn’t just easily given to me all the time.

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I had my own household chores and responsibilities. If I wanted the new Harry Potter book, I had to work for it, not just ask for it. This helped me to develop great work ethics to the point that I don’t even like staying idle for too long. “Kids who do chores learn to take responsibility. Instead of letting others do the work, they look for ways to contribute,” says Dona Matthews, Ph.D. 

Moving On

As military families often have to move, we have to move away from the homes we’ve just started to get used to. This means having to leave behind new friends and new spaces. That doesn’t mean having to permanently say goodbye, develop depression and completely lose connection. I’ve kept in touch with many of the friends I made growing up.

Regardless, my experience has taught me to not get too attached. Don’t make houses out of people. I’ve learned to be able to stand on my own and deal with having to move away. I can still keep in touch with people, and I can go back to visit old spaces in the future.

Learning New Cultures

I’m sure many will agree with me that even simply moving to another state means dealing with a different culture. Growing up, I’ve been exposed to different types of people, activities, interests, beliefs and even cuisine and music. This is probably one of my favorite things about being a military brat.

Source: exchangestudentworld.com

I’ve been able to learn so much from different cultures, and I’ve taken up many values within myself. It’s beautiful being able to see how diverse people can be. I’ve learned to be more accepting and even fond of this diversity.

 

 

Living Overseas: Life And Struggles of Military Families

The family is the primary lifeline that supports the means of our survival. For it to thrive, parents (ideally) have to provide for the children and be hands-on with their upbringing. However, the “mother, father, and children living together” situation is not always the case for everybody. For some, parents need to be away from their children and spouses to work. Such is the reality for military families.  

Mark Banschick M.D., wrote, “Modern families come in many shapes and sizes. There are two-parent and single-parent families. Parents may be straight or gay, single by choice or parenting alone due to separation, divorce or widowhood.” 

Struggles Of A Military Spouse 

Source: dover.af.mil

According to recent statistics, the majority of military spouses are females under 35 years of age. The father is often deployed in faraway countries to render service, leaving the mother in charge of the household. While staying married, military spouses feel as if they are single parents because the responsibility of running the house falls entirely on them. 

“There are a lot of sacrifices that you should make,” a military wife says. This forbearance includes a change of attitude and lifestyle and putting on a tough face to make the marriage work and provide a healthy family environment for the children. Here are some finer points of what military spouses experience: 

  • Managing Fear And Worry 

It’s inevitable to feel anxious from time to time because you know that your spouse is in a dangerous place. You are also well aware of your spouse’s commitment to protecting the country no matter what the cost; at any day, he or she may take a bullet for a comrade and a commanding officer. 

It’s tough to live with this possibility every single day. But in time, you will get used to it and put your trust in the omniscient, omnipotent being that holds the universe together because there are things that you surely cannot control. 

  • Compromising Career 

Moving is part of being in a military family. According to research, military families relocate ten times more than civilian families.  For non-service spouses, maintaining a career with this setting is very difficult. You should accept that you have to put your job in the back burner and focus on your family for the time being. 

  • Making LDR Work 
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A lot of people say that a long-distance relationship does not work. But many military families are happily retired and have emerged successfully from being away for so long from their spouses. But actually, it is so much tougher than it looks. 

“Long-distance marriages aren’t easy, and they’re not for the faint of heart. The biggest challenge couples face is obviously a lack of facetime, and often, one partner may have a harder time with this than the other,” Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, 

There will be days when you will crave your spouse’s embrace after a bad day. New Year’s midnight kiss and Christmas morning cuddles will be missed, sometimes for years at a time. 

These men and women are commendable with their perseverant spirits to endure all of these. But it is equally a struggle for those service members living overseas. 

Struggles Of A Deployed Military Personnel 

According to studies almost 20% of service members assigned in the Middle East experience mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.  Being away from your family is tough enough, and then you have to be in an unfamiliar country, stripped away from the basic comforts you enjoy at home. 

All your life, you have been training to serve the country. Maybe as a kid, you have always dreamed of being a soldier. You take pride that your job is one of the noblest professions and have already accepted the sacrifices that come with it. However, military training cannot turn you into a heartless person. There will be days when you go through rough patches and long for your family’s presence. 

Here are some of the experiences the military personnel go through after deployment: 

  • Missing The Special Days 

Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays usually pass by without your spouse and kids. It will get lonely, but you have to make the most of it. Typically, calls and emails are allowed during this time.  But the tangible presence of your significant other and children other is undoubtedly missed. “The Soldier is preparing to go, so he is pulling back from the Family,” said Navy Capt. Daphne Brown, a clinical psychologist at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany. “He has to invest in the mission.” “But the spouse does it from a fear that something will happen,” she said.

  • Battling Existential Crisis 

Being in a war zone, you cannot help but think about when it is going to be your last day. However, more than thinking about yourself, you also worry about the people that you will leave behind. Although you know that your death will most likely be honorable, you are aware of how heartbroken your family is going to be when you are gone after being away from you for a long time. 

Source: flickr.com

 

  • Missing Being A Parent 

This one is probably the biggest regret of overseas military personnel. You will likely miss the firsts of your child, and maybe you will be recognized by your baby as “mommy” or “daddy” on the computer or phone screen where you talk a few times a month. As much as you want to be involved in the upbringing of your child, you can’t avoid feeling helpless because you are a thousand miles away. 

Having said this much, families who are thriving in this situation are remarkable. Being away from loved ones will surely take a toll on our emotional well-being, but it takes a steadfast heart and mind to endure all of these. 

On a final note, some organizations allow you to send support to military families by sending thank you letters to the deployed soldier. This appreciation will encourage them and help their emotional state. By this little act, we are also taking part in protecting the country by supporting our soldiers as they endure service without the comforts of their families. 

Underneath The Armor

What is a soldier?

 Soldiers are heroes.

Jean M Twenge Ph.D., wrote about Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta and his experience during a battle: “In this job, I am only mediocre. I’m average. This was a situation that we were put into. I was just one brush stroke in that picture, and everyone else was one brush stroke in that picture. And while it wasn’t the first brushstroke of that picture, and it wasn’t the last brush stroke in that picture, and it wasn’t the best, it was just another brush stroke that helped complete this picture.”

Many would hold that soldiers are heroic and worthy of praise. It’s not difficult to see why. When people decide to join the army, they are making a conscious decision to leave their family and friends behind. They leave the comfort of their homes and go through rigorous, sometimes merciless, training sessions.

All for what? For their country, the nation, and the people who live in it. Once the training is done, they’re thrown into the heat of battle, where they risk their lives. They fight in the name of their country.

These men and women who sign up to fight in the army are making the ultimate sacrifice. Regardless of what side a soldier chooses, deciding to fight and possibly die for one’s country is a commendable act. It’s an act of putting others before oneself.

 

Source: cdn.rt.com

Soldiers choose to dedicate their lives to their country, despite many other, possibly more convenient, options. That is certainly something worthy of praise–something heroic.

Soldiers are monsters.

Others hold that these people are monstrous and should be loathed. Their entry into the army is a free pass to kill. One could even say it’s their special skill to kill on command. Indeed, soldiers can murder those they barely know. It’s in the job description, after all.

“There was an incident not long ago where a veteran had a violent outburst, and the media was all over it, talking about how folks with PTSD are violent,” Francine Roberts, PsyD told The Nation’s Health. “But the opposite is the truth. Veterans have no more potential for violence than anyone else.”

In the heat of battle, there are only those who are with you and those who are against you. One must simply protect the former and shoot the latter. Faces and names don’t matter.

What’s more, these people could be fighting for all the wrong reasons. True, they did give up a lot when they decided to enter the army. But what good would that be if they were fighting for the wrong?

Source: businessinsider.com

Soldiers make themselves commodities–weapons that simply point and shoot. And there isn’t anything heroic about that.

Soldiers are humans.

We sometimes forget that these “heroes” or these “monsters” are just like us–humans.

Underneath all the badges and armor is a colleague, a comrade-in-arms, and a brave fighter. Behind the war paint and the rugged exterior is a parent, a sibling, and a son or daughter. Look past the stern expression, the battle scars, and the intimidating aura. Underneath all that is a human.

Source: orderfirstworldwar.com

Humans can be heroes. They can choose to be altruistic and fight for the people of their country. They can choose to leave their lives behind for the sake of some greater good. And they can do things that are more than worthy of praise.

“I think there’s no substitute for people being able to number one, hear prestigious leaders talk about their own struggles with psychological injury. And the other thing is for them to see visibly that someone who has faced and gotten treatment for psychological injury continues to have a flourishing military career. I think the stigma is still a significant barrier in all of the military forces for officers and staff NCOs.” – Jonathan Shay, psychiatrist. 

Humans are also fallible, able to make mistakes, like anyone else. This, however, does not make them monsters. When they fight for the wrong reasons, it’s not always their fault. Sometimes the blame falls on the higher-ups whose hearts are no longer in the right place. Yes, death is in the job description, but as sad as it seems, bloodshed is an inevitable consequence of war. Moreover, these men and women do not simply devolve into mindless, trigger-happy puppets. Many still have a choice in the matter. Many still listen to their conscience.

Soldiers are humans too. We mustn’t forget that.