Children who have a military parent(s) encounter a host of challenges that include moving, entering a new school, or having a parent deployed. The children are sometimes exposed to diverse cultures, often radically different from their home country. They can be quickly uprooted from all their friends, familiar surroundings and planted in a place where perhaps they can’t even speak the language. These changes can be tumultuous for the child and their relationships with parents, siblings and friends potentially leaving them insecure, angry, and confused. A simple action such as prayer at the dinner table as a family, about the move, the new experiences, and the new relationships will lay the foundation for a successful assignment or deployment.
Consider the questions and scriptures below when confronted with challenges with transitioning to a new home, a new school, deployments or other unique challenges for your military child:
Deuteronomy 11:19, 31:8; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11; Romans 2:11; Luke 18:15-17; Micah 6:8; Psalm 139:1-12 Hebrews 13:8; Joshua 1:9; Psalm 32:8; Proverbs 3:5-6 ; Ephesians 6:4
- According to Deuteronomy 11:19 and Ephesians 6:4, we have a responsibility not to just raise our children, but also to teach them in the Word of God. What are some practical ways we can do this?
- When talking with your children, how do you share that the decision to move AGAIN is in the will of God?
- Do your children see you growing closer to God? In what ways do you encourage them to grow closer to God, particularly in times of hardship or change? Do you have a regular family and/or couple’s prayer time? Do they?
- Just as Joshua was commanded to be strong and courageous, how do you encourage your children to cling to God when everything around them is changing?
- In today’s society of social media, computers, iPads and smartphones, change (both good and bad) is transmitted instantly. How do you show your children that God is steadfast and unchanging in His love for them and your family while the world seems to be falling apart?
- Young children often come to Christ humbly, trusting, and with sincerity. How can you encourage your children to demonstrate these actions to their friends when faced with another move, deployment, or other challenge?
- Paul did not distinguish between Greek and Jew but that Christ was for everyone. We are all equal in the eyes of Christ. How does that translate to other cultures when moving to a foreign country?
Following are a series of carefully selected resources that provide perspectives and experiences of various authors, most having military experience. These articles and podcasts are intended to stimulate further thinking and reflective application for individuals or to act as the basis of discussion in small groups.
OCF offers many extra resources as you continue digging into the subdomain of Military Kids: Third Culture Kids.