Battling the Clichés of Military Life–The Answers We Wish We Could Give

When trying to comfort a military family, think carefully before you speak.

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Posted in , Dec 5, 2014

Soldier in a bunker. Photo Ingram Publishing, Thinkstock.

The military life can ask a lot from families–and extended families. It’s usually when life gets hardest that we hear the most incredibly thoughtless things.

In today’s post, I want to share the answers we wish we could give when we’re battling the clichés of military life.

  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
    (Seriously? My son is fighting in a war, and you think this is appropriate?)
  • At least part of your family is home.
    (Yeah, right. Worry works on percentages. The more family members present, the fewer worries we have.)
     
  • You should be thankful your soldier gets a regular paycheck in this economy.
    (Of course, everyone aspires to live at the income our government designates as the poverty level. Especially when that paycheck comes with a job description that could cost his life.)
     
  • At least you won’t have to pay for your son’s college. 
    (My son is in the middle of a war zone, and you think I care about whether or not I’ll have to pay for college?
     
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder. 
    (At this rate, I really don’t know how I can take much more fondness.)
     
  • I would never let my son or daughter enlist. 
    (Well in the first place, it wasn’t my decision. In the second, I couldn’t be more proud of his decision to serve.)
     
  • I bet you love all the war coverage available on TV now days. 
    (It would be great, if any of it were believable.)
     
  • Worry and fear are a choice, just decide not to dwell on the what-ifs. 
    (Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks for the advice.)
     
  • At least he’s not on the front line. 
    (That’s because this conflict has no front line. Everyone over there is in danger.)
     
  • It must be nice to get free medical care.
    (Free? The price of this medical care is higher than you could imagine.)
     
  • Isn’t it odd how it seems like more soldiers are killed within just a few weeks of coming home?
    (Oh, gee, thanks for bringing that up.)
     
  • It could be worse, you could be a real single mother. 
    (I heard this said to a friend of mine. After the helpful soul who made this pronouncement left, she turned to me and said, “My husband is gone for a year, most of that time I won’t even have a reliable way to contact him. I don’t know how I could be more of a single mother!”
     
  • You must be so disappointed your son (or husband, wife, daughter, etc) decided to enlist.
    (Are you kidding? I’m button-busting proud that my son chose this.)

Beyond these, there are hundreds of other thoughtless comments people can make. I’d love to know what you’d add to the list.

Tags: Soldier,Mother
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