We retain resilient families

| November 30, 2012 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Maj.) Chris Wilson
Schofield Barracks Family Life Chaplain

“We don’t retain Soldiers; we retain families.”

You may have heard this phrase before, but I didn’t until 2006 when I worked for a battalion commander.

At that time, as a father of three children, I completely agreed. Since then, I’ve added a few more children to my family and that phrase has personally become more important than ever to me.

Professionally, as a Family Life chaplain, I have seen the affects of military service and obligations on families. As we come out of 10-plus years of combat with repeated deployments, many families are tired.

Military families have faced many challenges and obstacles that the civilians out in the non-military workforce haven’t.

For some time, the buzzword in the Army community has been resiliency, which I define as the ability to recover or adjust to change. I know that this word has been a bit overused, but the reality is, resilient Soldiers and families are needed in our Army.

As a counselor, I set goals with people who come to see me. I don’t usually define the goals; I just facilitate my counselee’s development of their goals. Once we develop goals, we then seek to develop certain objectives to meet that goal.

For you and your family, whether or not you are in need of counseling, let me encourage you to set a goal for your family that includes the notion of resiliency. Once that has been written out or discussed, then figure out certain objectives to meet that goal. Here are a few objectives to consider:

First, maintain a healthy relationship with your children. Healthy relationships are accomplished by spending time with your children. Do things that they’re interested in, like establishing a routine event that you and your family do on a weekly basis. For example, I know some families who play a game night every Friday night.

Second, try to eat dinner together as much as possible. Research says that the family dinner meal is the most important meal of the day. During that meal families can discuss what is going on with school and other things in their lives. The family meal also fosters a time where your children can ask you things, as well.

Third, if you have multiple children, set time aside for each one to have alone time with you. You could take them to lunch or have a dinner date with them.

Fourth, if possible, once you leave work, leave your problems at work. Don’t allow your bad day to shape your attitude at home. Your attitude will be the lens through which you will view actions at home. This separation from work is a hard task to accomplish, but with planning and discipline, you can begin to develop this ability.

These are just a few thoughts on how to be a resilient family. Keep in mind that resiliency has to be planned out. If you aim at nothing, you will hit nothing.

If you plan to continue to serve, be creative in ways to help your family maintain as much resiliency as possible. Develop a goal to be a resilient family, state your objectives to meet that goal and, when you are struggling, seek professional help.

Chaplains are assigned to most units and have the skills to help you develop those goals.

May God bless you on your journey!

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News

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