Written by Sandboxxand originally published by
If you have a loved one bound for basic training, you may find yourself struggling to find ways to show your support. If military service isn’t something you’ve done or been around much throughout your life, the transition from civilian to service member can seem awfully mysterious (or even downright confusing). Trust me, it’s a bit mysterious and confusing for us servicemembers too, and amid all that uncertainty, some kind gestures from those we love can truly make all the difference.
Here are a few ways you can show your support for a loved one as they embark on their military journey.
Be clear about your support
When I first signed on the dotted line to join Uncle Sam’s favorite gun club (the United States Marine Corps), my announcement was met with varying responses from those I was close to. Some felt as though I was making a mistake or “wasting” my potential. Others feared for my safety amid overlapping conflicts throughout the Middle East, and of course, a few were just sad to see me go. While all of these expressions of concern were rooted in love for me, I couldn’t help but feel as though I didn’t have the support of some of the people I cared about most.
Those seeds of doubt can be uncomfortable in the days or weeks prior to shipping out, but they only truly germinate in your head once you’ve arrived at basic training. During that first long day aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell I’d gotten myself into… and as a part of that line of thinking, I began to wonder if maybe my less-than-supportive loved ones may have been right.
The truth, as I’d come to learn over the years, was that the Marine Corps isn’t for everyone, but it was the right place for me. As time passed and I grew more comfortable in the uniform, many of the same friends and family members who had once seemed so critical of my decision suddenly seemed really supportive of my service… or so I felt at the time.
I’ve learned in the years since that even those who seemed the most critical were incredibly proud of my choice to serve my country–but in the moment, as I relayed my decision to them, their anxieties were the first to manifest. They had no idea that I’d left feeling as though I didn’t have some of my closest friend’s support. They assumed I’d know they supported me, and skipped past the part where they felt the need to express it.
If your loved one is preparing to ship out to basic training or boot camp, be clear about your support of them before they leave. You have every right to feel anxious, worried, or sad about their departure, but remember that they’re about to face what may be the greatest challenge of their life so far, and remind them that you have their back no matter what.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT SANDBOXX