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The Family

The Family

Saturday, October 10, 2015

It's Not fair!!

This blog has been stirring around inside of my head for a couple of months now and I had no intention of getting up this morning and blogging, but it won’t leave me alone so here it is!

Let me start by saying you will not find a more HOOYAH supporter of my husband and sons military careers and I am well aware of the blessings and benefits that it has afford myself and my children.  Please do not take this entry as anything against the military or the choice many make of making it a career.  I am simply going to share from my perspective the impact it can have on our children and how we as parents struggle to watch them work through it.

I sat in a meeting for two hours this week listening to parents discuss their child with behavior problems, I reassured them several times that the military lifestyle often births behavior concerns in our children, mine being no exception.  I shared that no choice they made or nothing they had purposely done had caused their child to struggle greatly when they are separated from them.  That the demands placed on a family effect each family and child individually. 

This has been stirring in my head since we moved back to Hawaii and Zachary made the transition from being a Guam High Panther to being a Radford Ram.  We knew a year ago that the chances of us coming back to Hawaii was strong so we began to talk to other parents and students about Radford.  When I had attended the class of 2014 graduation several months earlier I heard every speaker stand up and share that Radford had been an amazing experience for them, as it was a school where there was annually a great transition in the students coming and going.  Each speaker shared that even though they had at one time been the new kid, they had never felt like that.  The characteristic of the school was one that all new kids were accepted and made to feel valued and welcomed.  Taking all of this under consideration we made the choice to send him to Radford, instead of Aiea where his brother had gone and Campbell where his sister had gone.  We felt that he had the best chance of seeing playing time on the field since Radford’s team routinely had players transitioning in and out of the school.  We made a choice.

As a Panther Zachary was a starter on both the offense and the defense and spent the entire game on the field.  I knew that I couldn’t expect the same of a new school and a new team.  I understand that the coaches have been working with some of their players for the previous three years and they have invested a great deal into them.  I understand that my child is someone they don’t know and haven’t invested anything into.  I understand that they may be aware of the fact that while my child has his fathers GI Bill which will pay for his college, these other players will need to rely on any scholarship they can grab ahold of to make college a reality.  I understand all of these things.  What I cannot understand is how my child can go from being a starter on both the offense and defense in Guam to playing only special teams and second-string offense here.

Now, let me add that this scenario is not unique to my child.  His other friends have went from being starters in Guam, to other schools on the mainland because of PCS moves and found them selves as second stringers.  The athletic trainer from Radford shared with us the other night that they had a player who was a starter on the Radford team who transferred to Texas and he hasn’t seen any playing time at all this year.

As I sit in the stands crying because I know he should see more playing time, but he’s not because we moved him in his senior year of high school or I lay awake at night thinking that we did this to him, two things come to mind.  Number one is that he is handling it so much better than I am!  He stands quietly in his silent warrior mode, accepting that he must prove himself.  He studies his playbook, it goes everywhere with him.  He is early for every practice, he supports his brothers on the team, and he makes every play count. Me, on the other hand, I want to rip into the coach on a regular basis and let him know that he's overlooking my sons talent.  Number two, it’s not fair!  It’s not fair to thousands of military dependents that are scholars or athletes to have to compromise or lose momentum every time a PCS move calls.  It’s just not fair. 

I am thankful for those at Army Youth Sports and Army School Liaison services, as we have had many conversations about the struggles our young men and women have as they transition form duty station to duty station and they are working to make a difference to come up with programs, combines, and networks that will help our athletes get recognition and an opportunity to be looked at by scouts even if they are not seeing the playing time that is equal to their talents because they have not been with the coaches for years.  

I am grateful for the lessons that my son is learning in this process and his absolutely amazing attitude in dealing with disappointment.  I am so proud of the way he mans up each and every time and makes the choice of the higher road.  He has only once said anything that gave me a glimpse into how hard this has been for him.  It was after one of the first games of the season, I was driving home and he said in a very quiet voice, “Mom, you know in Guam I would be a captain and starting.”  All I could say was, “I know son.”


I am also reminded daily that there is a bigger plan at work here, one that I cannot see.  Just as I could not see the benefits or the blessings a PCS move to Guam would bring, I cannot see the plan that God has for Zach, but I do know he has one, whether being a military dependent is fair or not!