Military kids need support too! Post WWII life as a child in our family was lonely…

by | Jun 29, 2012

“The National Guard and Reserve Institute is a program of the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC), which was established in 1998 to help military-connected children with the challenges of frequent moves and transitions often experienced throughout childhood. In addition to professional development workshops, MCEC provides transition services for students, parent workshops and counseling resources to help military children and families.”

I am pleased to include a new resource on my website, referenced in the above links.  As a post WWII family we moved around constantly.  Sometimes the moves were from military to civilian housing, then back and forth.  I can’t remember how many times we moved, changed schools, and tried to make new friends, but it was often.  I really had no sense of my roots as a child.  We were always unsettled going from one place to the other, and frequently not having a clue about who we were or where we lived.  I often heard the statement “military brats” while growing up, as if it were some sort of badge of honor.  But it really meant we were different from other kids that formed lasting friendships and trust with others over a longer period of time.  We felt lonely and defensive, like outcasts.  As siblings we had each other, but fought like cats and dogs most of the time.  Going home after school was not a welcome thought, but hanging around with others kids was worse.  Our parents really didn’t take much time getting engaged with other parents or with the schools because of their own challenges.  I really don’t have too many fond memories of childhood.  I would say it was at least character building and provided many lessons of survival in a lonely world.  But the the feeling of closeness and belonging in the communities where we lived was always missing for the most part.

Thousands of military families now have resources i.e.,, a non-profit helping families with a variety of programs designed for parents and children to become more educated on adjustments and transitions in military life.  The Military Child Education Coalition is especially focused on children, the most needy.

Our Vision:
To serve as a model of positive leadership and advocacy for ensuring inclusive, quality educational opportunities for all military children.

Our Mission:

To ensure inclusive, quality educational experiences for all military children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition.

Our Goals:

The Military Child Education Coalition will:
1. Provide responsive and relevant support systems, resources, and products.

2. Expand the MCEC’s outreach through engagement, advocacy, and partnerships.

3. Execute a strategic communications plan.

4. Build a strong, sustainable, and financially sound organization.

In terms of my own family experience and childhood, we can’t go back.  I can, however; as a veterans advocate make every attempt to inform and remind military families of the excellent resources available helping kids become healthy and productive adults by mitigating the unique challenges of growing up in a military culture.  As military parents, don’t let your children become lonely, isolated, and disassociated from all the frequent changes resulting from new assignments, deployments, and all too frequent relocations.

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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