Tips for Military Families Dealing with Deployment

When you change your deployment mindset, you can do more than just endure—you can thrive.

Posted in , Aug 11, 2015

Guideposts: How military families can cope with deployment.

For military families, getting through deployment takes good resource management. And one vital resource we often overlook is our attitude. When you change your deployment mindset you can do more than just endure—you can thrive. These are the things I discovered while our son was serving in the Middle East.

1)  Look up, not around.
For me, this one small change made all the difference. When I put my focus on looking to God for His sustaining power, I began to thrive. I found the time spent in prayer and reading the Bible helped change my perspective. I got to know Him on a deeper level, and my trust grew. With that trust, my peace and joy also increased.

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2)  Don’t put your life on hold.
I went into our son’s deployments anticipating all the things we’d do when he was back home, safe and sound. I avoided taking part in anything he would have enjoyed. I felt guilty about having fun, that it was minimizing the sacrifice he was making. All I was doing was making myself miserable, and it was affecting our family. I learned that enjoying life didn’t take away from his willingness to serve.

3)  Communicate your needs.
When a loved one is serving in the armed forces, we often unconsciously take on some military characteristics. The one that’s the worst is what I call the Warrior Mentality. It’s a mindset that to honor our soldier, we must go it alone. Often without thinking about it, we have bought into the idea that asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s not.

4)  Reach out and help someone else.
It’s easy to become absorbed in our circumstances when someone we love is serving in a war zone. But it’s not healthy. Take this time to reach out to others who are in need. It doesn’t have to be someone associated with the military. You can offer to tutor students, volunteer at a pet shelter, or reach out at a retirement center. The important thing is take the focus away from your situation.

5) Anticipate the homecoming.
Often military families are uneasy about homecomings. They carry a superstitious attitude that if too many plans are made, something tragic will occur. Face this fear head on and map out a course of action. Don’t go it alone, include your service member in the planning. It will be a way to share in the anticipation.

These are the things that helped me change my deployment mindset. I’d love to know what you’d add to the list.

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