Growing up Military
The Advantages of Being a Military Brat
April 1, 2014 by Mark Dye
April is Month of the Military Child, and we’re celebrating with several blogs throughout the month that focus on military kids. This one looks at a few of the advantages of growing up military.
The term “military brat” is a term those outside of the military just don’t understand. It’s a point of pride for children of those who serve—a way to signal the common bond they have due to growing up in unique circumstances. And while being a military brat certainly isn’t easy, it does have a number of advantages.
Experience diverse people and places
Moving every few years can be tough at first—saying goodbye to old friends, making new ones. But the opportunity to grow up in different parts of the world is something many people can only dream about. Imagine being able to study western history in Rome, or art in Paris or technology in Tokyo.
Getting to know different places also comes with getting to know the people who live there. Granted, the world has become smaller thanks to the Internet, but experiencing how different cultures live firsthand is something that can’t be duplicated online.
Appreciate time with parents
One of the worst parts of being a military kid is the uncertainty of a deployment. It might be a year or more in some cases before mom or dad comes home, while others have been deployed four or more times in the past decade.
The upside is a greater appreciation for the parent when he or she returns, as we often don’t understand how much we love someone until they are gone—even if it’s just for a short time. Then there is the pride of having a parent who volunteered to serve the country, which is something nearly impossible to quantify.
Desire to serve others
One thing about watching a parent serve in the military is how often that mindset is passed down from parent to child. This gives kids a great example of how to live life and many military brats volunteer, mentor or otherwise find ways to give back to their communities. Some also go on to serve in the military themselves.
Scholarships for school
For those who want to go to college, growing up military can be a huge bonus. Moving somewhere different is already second nature, meeting new people is old hat, and there are a large number of scholarships and grants available to help make it all possible.
There are sites such as MilitaryScholar.org (run by the Fisher House Foundation) that are for kids from any branch, while others are branch specific (the Army Scholarship Foundation, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Air Force Aid Society, and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society being a few). There are also sites for specific fields of study and even specific majors at a certain school, so make sure to check thoroughly—college costs continue to rise, so the less you have to borrow or pay out of pocket, the better.
Military brats live a unique life—one full of experiences that one just doesn’t get in the civilian world. It might not be perfect, but the advantages make it perfectly worthwhile.
Be sure to check out some of our other blogs focused on military children!