Last Updated on April 13, 2023 by OCF Communications

Episode 015 show notes

This episode focuses on coping with transition, not just from the perspective of military families, but specifically, from the perspective of military kids, or third-culture kids. Our guest for this episode is Dr. Dave Sanders—a Christian Ministries Professor at Judson University.

The interview with Dr. Sanders is prefaced by a short conversation with Heidi Martin, our own resident third-culture kid and Special Assistant to the Executive Director at OCF, who also interviews Dr. Sanders on the topic of building a RAFT. He also wrote about building a RAFT for COMMAND back in 2015. Also mentioned in this episode is the Military Teen Bible, by the American Bible Society. OCF has a limited quantity of these Bibles available for free. To receive a copy, contact us at [email protected] or call the Home Office at 800-424-1984.

Episode outline

[1:27] Heidi talks about her life as a military brat, with a dad who is retired Air Force and mom who served 10 years in the Air Force.

[2:17] What were some of the struggles you and your siblings seemed to face when it came to transition, and for yourself, were there any coping mechanisms you typically defaulted to?

[5:08] In your interview with Dr. Sanders, you discuss this concept of building a RAFT. Did your family have its own version of a RAFT to help the family with a pending transition?

[8:44] As a third-culture kid, what’s one key takeaway from your conversation with Dr. Sanders?

[10:13] Dr. Sanders shares more about what he does at Judson University and his professional background.

[11:56] Development of the Rezlife website, partnered with MCYM, a website specifically designed for issues faced by military teens.

[13:26] Dr. Sanders discusses negative coping mechanisms teens often use when facing a move or transition.

[17:00] There are some positive coping experiences, such as a type of “hail and farewell” format that celebrates students who are leaving and welcomes the new students.

[19:07] Discussion of the RAFT and how it can be adapted to the military setting: Reconciliation, Affirmation, Farewell, and Think destination.

[19:41] Reconciliation, arguably the most important of the four parts of the RAFT. It’s important to resolve unfinished business with everyone, and equally as important for the parents to demonstrate reconciliation for your children,

[21:28] Affirmation, which is a way of thanking all of those people who have been important to you. Make a list of all of those who have helped you, encouraged you, or befriended you. Face-to-face affirmation is very important, and children should be encouraged to do this.

[22:31] Farewell, learning how to say goodbye to people, places, pets, and posessions. Turn a goodbye into something positive by writing down memories or taking a special token from time in a location, for example.

[24:02] Think destination, which is a way to now start focusing on what is next—maybe it’s a chance to focus on a new hobby, sport, or activity to get involved with at the next location. Ask, “what does God have in store for us as a family?” This helps families develop a sort of missional mentality.

[26:26] Scriptural references to reinforce the concept of the RAFT.

[27:20] Genesis 12, the Abraham story, which is a type of PCS story in military parlance: “God called Abraham to PCS…the military may give you orders, but God is the one sending you.”

[30:00] It’s important to make our home in Christ, no matter where we may be called to live. “Everything else in a military kid’s life changes, except this wonderful friend called Jesus. He doesn’t change, and he’s going to be there, he’s going to be with you as you transition…”

[30:44] View a PCS as a calling for God to show you some great things, new people, and new places just for you. A PCS is an invitation from Jesus, who is calling you to that next place. It’s important for families to reinforce this idea of “calling” to help kids buy into the vision.

[33:14] Resources aimed at military teens: and MCYM; Military Teen Bible from the American Bible Society. Other resources: youth workers and chaplains. Get to know those in your communities, and get involved through ministries like OCF. Help your youth find a mentor.

[38:17] If you have an idea for a guest or a topic you’d like us to consider on a future episode of Crosspoint, send an email to [email protected].

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15, ESV).

About OCF Crosspoint

OCF Crosspoint is a podcast produced by Officers' Christian Fellowship and is dedicated to sharing stories of military life at the intersection of faith, family, and profession.

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