Our Parents Deployed... Again.

Second  Brigade…Third Brigade…Fourth  Brigade…Over the past school year this was the steady drumbeat of deployment rotations here at Fort Campbell. Our community spent many weeks this year celebrating the return of parents only to turn around and say goodbye to others.

To the outside world, this may seem like pure chaos, but for our students, it’s just business as usual: parents going “down range” again to sacrifice for our nation’s freedoms. For military teens, deployments are just a part of life.  Do they enjoy them? No, but in their world they must cope with the chaos.
Deployment is often the elephant in the room. One student leader reflected, “We don’t like to talk about it because you could lose a parent a week after deployment or a week before they return…. You just never know” Our students live in a constant tension that may not be visible to an outsider. On any given club night, the room is filled with laughter from things like someone taking a pie in the face or a karaoke Taylor Swift wannabe. But underneath, the tension is there.
That is why if I had to choose a word to describe the students in our ministry it would be resolute. Over this summer I have watched our students travel to camps where military teens are in the minority - the only ones that fully understand the impact of parental deployments and who know the stressors of military life.  Yet they stood out as leaders among their peers. They are the first to jump in and get dirty; the first to speak up in small groups; and they are the first to give an encouraging word. Our military teens are used to being the underdogs - used to a world that stacks the odds against them. Therefore, they are ready to take on anything, and they live with a resolve that most adults would be well-served to adopt in their own lives. It is for these reasons that I consider each day I get to serve America’s military teenagers a true blessing.