Month of the Military Child a time to honor sacrifices, resiliency

Growing up is never easy, but growing up as a military child presents some unique challenges. Each April is Month of the Military Child, and families and military installations worldwide celebrate the resiliency of military “brats.”

“Military life is hard, but I think the Air Force does a great job of recognizing the sacrifices our military children make,” said a military family life consultant, or MFLC, whose name remains anonymous to protect the confidentiality of the position. “They really are our tiniest heroes.”


The official flower of the military child is the dandelion because the flower is strong and beautiful, and it blooms wherever the winds carry it.

“I think that describes us really well,” said 8-year old Laken Stunkel, who has grown up as a military child. “The hardest part is leaving your friends behind and having to start all over at a new school, but it’s kind of cool too because we get to do things a lot of other kids don’t get to do. None of my friends here have ever lived in Europe or been to the top of the Eiffel tower. We’ve had dandelions at every base I’ve been to.”

Life as a military child can be challenging. The children have to deal with deployments, parents working long hours or strange shifts, adapting to new environments, new states and sometimes even a new continent, but there are also a lot of life lessons to be learned.

“Being raised by a Marine taught me that if you want to succeed in life, you have to pursue your goals with determination and passion,” said Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko, National Air and Space Intelligence Center Public Affairs. “Very few things come easily. Whether it was making new friends at a new base as a child or making the decision to join the Air Force when I turned 17, it was my dad who helped guide me to be the father and Airman I am today.”

The Air Force offers many programs and resources designed to help ease the stresses that military children face, including military family life consultants who specialize in working with families and children.

“The biggest challenge I see military children face is moving so frequently,” explained the MFLC. “Military kids are so resilient and flexible, and they adapt so quickly to changing environments. Recent statistics from Military OneSource say that the average military child moves seven to nine times, and they average a new school every two years. In my role, I can help military families by providing tips and advice on how to ease the stress of moving on children and how to create a smooth transition into their next duty station.”

The Child Development Centers on base celebrated Month of the Military Child last month with a spirit week, a hero’s wall and by handing out purple ribbons for parents to give their children as signs of their appreciation for the sacrifices military children make.

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