The pride I hold for my soldier runs deep. I recall the day he took the oath of enlistment and the wave of emotions I felt as he held up his right hand. While this seems like it was yesterday, my soldier is in his third year of service with the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
Millions of mothers have children who serve, and they are just as proud. Longing to support their soldier and themselves, they seek out resources to help them on their journey of highs and lows. In honor of military mothers and families everywhere, I created a 26 tried-and-true, insightful suggestion list on ways to support our soldiers. As you read my ideas, implement what resonates with you. Add to my list your thoughts, and most importantly, pass them on.
A is for achievement. Honor your soldiers’ achievements by providing them an opportunity to explain their training and skills. Clear off shelf space and showcase their talents by displaying awards.
B is for banner. Support your soldier’s service by displaying a military banner. Add military decorations to your yard for passersby to admire.
C is for cheer. If anyone requires a cheer, it’s our nation’s soldiers. What this sounds like is up to you. Just add a rolling fist pump when reciting.
D is for dedicated. Soldiers aim to do their personal best. They learn and prosper from positive role models. Parents, caregivers, teachers, military personnel, etc., thank you.
E is for ease. Soldiers can’t wait to be and feel at ease. Plan activities for your soldier that encourage them to unwind their energetic bodies and minds.
F is for flag. Fly an American or military flag. Let others observe support for your soldier and the armed forces by displaying one.
G is for guidance. Your soldier will come to you for guidance. Be ready to lend your listening ears and reply with honest and thoughtful advice.
H is for helping hands. Your soldiers’ helping hands are hard at work. Make sure yours are ready when your soldier and others are in need.
I is for invitation. When there is an invitation to celebrate, honor and connect with your soldier, try your best to participate. Distance, time changes and a busy schedule should not get in the way.
J is for journey. Your soldier’s military journey will experience ups and downs. Be prepared to listen, reflect and respond.
K is for keepsake. What unique keepsake of your soldiers will you tuck away and share at a later time? Starting a scrapbook is a good beginning.
L is for love. Share love abundantly and continuously. Speak it, text it, write it.
M is for milestone. Listen to, learn from and honor your soldiers’ milestones. As humble as they can be, they appreciate it when their contributions are recognized.
N is for nourishment. Your soldier’s mind, body and soul need nourishment. Feed them by staying connected. Invitations to share home-cooked meals, a walk and a talk remind them that you care.
O is for ovation. Day in and day out, soldiers obey orders, stand at attention and recite the soldiers’ creed. When there is an opportunity for them to be honored with a standing ovation, participate.
P is for patience. Patience is a requirement for soldiers and their families. An enormous amount of paperwork, emails, calls, orders, scheduling changes, updates and the like, are part of military life.
Q is for quiet. At times, quiet is all your soldier wants. Help make it happen.
R is for rest. Everyone needs rest, especially our soldiers. It will do their body good.
S is for sanctuary. Offer your soldier a sanctuary space. It is a location where there are fewer interruptions and where they can cherish their downtime.
T is for time. Time passes quickly. Take time for your soldier and yourself.
U is for united. Soldiers and their families form a united front. While ideas and opinions might differ, maintain respect.
V is for value. Soldiers and their families need to value and respect each other’s opinions. Conversations at times come with agreements and disagreements.
W is for worthy. Soldiers are worthy of many things, especially appreciation. Upon demonstration, make it count.
X is for extra. When it comes to your soldier, add a touch of extra to everything. Hugs and hoo-has accepted!
Y is yippee. When reuniting with your soldier, do so in your favorite fashion and shout, “Yippee!”
Z is zest. Our soldiers have courage and a zest for doing good. Let their zest quest be a reminder that we can do better too.