I am an Officer’s kid. For those who have no idea what I am talking about, let me explain.
No, my parents weren’t in the military. My parents were/are Salvation Army Officers.
Being an Officer’s kid is a lot like being a Pastor’s kid.
Being an Officer’s kid is also nothing like being a Pastor’s kid.
Is that as clear as mud? Good.
I am an Officer’s kid…
So was my father and mother.
So were my Grandparents.
My Great-grand parents were the first in our family to join the ranks of this fledgling army here in the United States.
Being an Officer’s kid is a unique thing.
People expect more from you.
People expect you to act a certain way.
People expect you to be more mature than the rest of the kids your age.
In short, the expectations for Officer’s kids are unfair and perhaps the bar is set too high.
There is also the running joke that if one marries into the army and also has family in the army that a blood test is required to ensure your soon to be bride is not related. Seriously, sometimes the life of an Officer’s kid can become solely an “army” bubble…and that, in my opinion, is not always healthy.
Back to Officer’s kids and expectations…
I recall meeting many officers kids while living with my parents growing up. We moved to various locations including South Africa, St. Helena and places in the central states of the U.S. I have met some very straight-laced Officer kids, who in turn grew up to also become Officers themselves, and I have met some rebel Officer kids who pushed back at every turn.
Are the expectations of Officer kids fair? In short, I believe that the answer is a resounding “No“!
Do these expectations of Officer’s kids sometimes lead to them wanting nothing to do with the Army when they grow up? In short, I believe that the answer is a resounding “Yes“!
Other times, and I have witnessed this, Officer’s kids have seen how the Army and its leadership has treated their parents and because of those seemingly unholy moments, they have walked away from this movement.
Could we use a little more compassion in our Army? Yes.
More understanding? Yes.
The ability to understand the hectic lives of Officers who have young children in their homes? Yes, yes, yes!
One might contend that Officers know what they are getting into when they sign their covenant…but did their children sign it too? Do they tag along during the kettle season? Do they help out, sometimes as the best and only volunteer on Sunday mornings? Do they go where their parents tell them to go? Many these Officer kids have unknowingly signed the covenant of officership too.
It is the nature of this organization.
There will be cause and effect.
A ripple here might become a wave on the other side…
How might we improve the lives of Officer’s Kids?
Does this responsibility fall squarely on the parents?
Does the corps, does DHQ, THQ, IHQ have a role in this as well?
What of the many who have left the army following reaching adulthood? Is there something to learn from those experiences?
This isn’t some sort of “Woe is me” edition of Pastorsponderings, this is just me hoping to teach my kids the importance of being their own individual and walk their own spiritual path. I’m not saying I didn’t or am not right now…because I have. How can we improve this ever changing facet of Officer families for the better? Are we making strides today? Yes I believe we are. Is there more work to be done in this sometimes forgotten aspect of “Army life”? Yes I believe there is.
Honestly, I haven’t arrived at a conclusion on this today.
I am simply pondering the nature and nurture of Officer Kids.
I understand them.
I was one.
I know that there are also perks, privileges and opportunities.
Honestly, I would like to hear from you. What do you make of Officer Kids?
Were/Are you one? Are you a Pastor’s kid…you can somewhat relate too.
How about a missionary kid? You fit this mold to some extend too.
From the outside looking in – Soldiers and friends, how do you see Officer’s kids?
Something more to ponder in our Army world today.