Support a Military Family, Without Adding Stress (Part 2)

Outreach Ministries blogger Edie Melson

As I mentioned in my last blog post, phone calls, texts and emails can be a great way to let military families know they’re in your thoughts and prayers.

But sometimes a phone call isn’t enough. I’ve shared in previous posts that occasionally friends would just drop by to let me know they were thinking of me while Jimmy was deployed. These drop-ins worked because those stopping by were careful not to impose.

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No matter what type of visit you plan, here are some basic guidelines to follow to keep it from inadvertently becoming a burden.

Take your cues from them.
Especially if this is an unexpected visit, it’s best to just assume it’s not a good time. This takes the burden of guilt and stress off the family. If it turns out to be a good time, they’ll let you know, but be guided by their needs.

Be on time.
If you plan a visit in advance, be sure to arrive when expected. Even if it’s just the spouse of a deployed soldier, they’re still shouldering extra responsibilities. That means life is busy, and there’s usually a schedule to help everything run smoothly. Respect that and show up when planned.

Watch the clock.
"Don’t overstay your welcome" is always a good guideline for visitors, no matter what the circumstances. It’s especially true for a family dealing with the hardships of deployment. Be considerate of bedtimes and mealtimes as well. It’s hard enough keeping kids on a schedule when both parents are in town. With a single-parent situation, schedules become a place of sanity in an insane world.

Remember: It’s not about you.
We all have tough things we’re dealing with. But if you’re offering support for a military family, make sure they feel that support. Give them the opportunity to share their struggles. Now is probably not the best time to burden them with your own stressful situations.

These are my tips. I’d love to know what you’d add to the list. Be sure to leave your comments in the section below.

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