With Veterans Day just passing, it seems appropriate to continue to remind everyone what we have in a soldier. Men and women have risked everything....their lives, their families, their securtity, their own safety and they have done it all unselfishly for you and me. Why do we forget what is happening in other parts of the world just because it is not directly effecting us? I will get off my soap box, but ever so often, I think about the sacrifice made so that I can live in a place of freedom to come and go as I please and to do as I please.
I ran across an article about helping soldiers coming home. Not only were the veterans having to adjust but their loved ones as well. Each person had a story about how their lives were whether in combat or at the home land having to hold down the fort without the other. When the soldiers come home out of combat or other stressful situations related to their military service they need our help.
Think about the rigorous training a soldier goes through to get prepared for war, however; when they step outside of this culture, there is no equivelant training to help them integrate into civilian culture again. They are expected to figure it all out on their own. Meanwhile, the soldier and their families suffer. The key to readjustement is communication. Although each can not compare what their lives had entailed during the soldiers absence, it is important that each person be able to share their experiences and the other compassionately llisten. This will create a new shared experience of love, trust and support for each other...together.
By nature, we as people are inquisitive. Be conscientous of the questions you would ask. Don't ask insensitive questions, like "have you killed anyone?" Don't assume you know what they have experienced, people handle situations differently from each other. Be a listening ear rather than an adviser, judge or evaluator. They need friends and support not critics.
During conversations with the soldiers, rememeber that feelings could emerge while discussing experiences, some which they may not have come to terms with yet. Be patient and allow the holding space between conversations to linger. Remember these conversations are about them....what they say, what they don't say and the silences too.
I hope you will make efforts to reach out to service members, whether it be ones you are closest too or ones on the street. You can always start with "Thank you for your service". Whether you agree or disagree with a war, they did their duty as needed for their county. They put their lives on the line because the government asked them to.
Be a friend today! We should ask ourselves frequently.....how am I making a difference?
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