4 Things I’ve Learned From My Military Family

4 Things I’ve Learned From My Military Family

Military families teach a lot of valuable things.

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My mother and father have both been in the Army, both before I was born. My mother got out after 4 years when she was pregnant with me but my father serves for almost 22 years. My older sister also decided to enlist in the Army, and I've found myself in Army ROTC after years of telling myself I'd never be in the military.

As I've grown up, I've come to realize just how many valuable things I've gained from living with military parents that everybody may not understand, or have been taught the way I have. I strongly believe that the military influenced the way I was raised and I'm pretty proud of that.

These are four things I've learned from my military family.

1. The first and foremost thing that living in a military family has taught me is discipline.

My mother and father both expected more of me than the average family, and I've come to greatly appreciate it. Growing up, I always hated the expectations that were put upon me by my parents to always give everything I did my 110%. There was no such thing as halfway doing something. If I committed to a class or a sport, there would be no giving up or no giving it only part of my efforts. In college I started to realize just how valuable this lesson is and I believe the level of discipline I received should be learned by everybody. Due to the way I was raised, I have a very good work ethic and I always stick to what I plan, even if I decide it's not for me. I don't quit and I'm often praised for my dedication especially to the things I love because not many people my age have that quality anymore.

2. Another thing my military family has taught me is to appreciate the times where we can all be together.

When I was younger, my father was away a lot either on deployments or in the field training or even at military qualifying schools. I remember birthdays where he was away and wasn't able to call until after I was in bed, or the fear I would sometimes get at night wondering what he was doing or if he was okay. My father is a strong man and never failed to come home, and every time he did so I realized even more just how lucky I am. Even now, going home to both of my parents is an immense privilege and with my older sister deploying soon, I take time everyday to tell my family how much I love them.

3. I have also learned the importance of true friendships throughout a lifetime.

Similarly, my father in particular taught me that true friends don't have to talk every day. Instead, they're there whenever you need them and vice versa. My father has a few people whom he considers true friends and he doesn't talk to them all the time, or very often to be honest. Two of my dad's true friends recently moved close to him and even after not seeing them for several years and talking to them very little, when they met again they picked up where they left off. The relationship he has with these friends exceeds anything anybody can understand.

The camaraderie between soldiers is something civilians couldn't understand. One of these friends has a son whom I've known since I was in kindergarten. When we moved away, I was still in elementary school and therefore had no means of communication with him and we lost touch for almost 10 years. When he moved to my town right before I left for college, our friendship picked up almost exactly where it left off and he's one of the people I would do anything for. He is a true friend and I value our relationship as much as I value my family.

4. The last thing I learned from my military family is how to be strong.

Since I was little, I had to face the fact that my father was protecting our home in a place that could be dangerous. As I grew up, I came to realize just how much he was willing to give up to protect his home and family, and just how much of a hero he truly is. It's difficult to put into words how much I look up to him and he's made me want to follow in his footsteps. Through him and his stories I've learned exactly what true strength looks like. He has always been my hero and my strength comes from him because I know he's one of the strongest people in the world.

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To My Boyfriend's Mom

He loves you more than you could ever imagine...
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Without you, there would not be a him, so first things first, thank you.

1. Thank you for teaching him to love a woman the right way, to put God first, and YOU before me always, the respect he shows you is so attractive, and you deserve it.

He talks about you like you hung the moon, I don't doubt for a second that he will be an amazing father one day, I owe all of that to you.

2. Thank you for giving me a chance, learning to love me when you knew your son was doing the same.

I can't speak for my own first impressions, but hopefully mine was not THAT bad...when we both slapped him on the arms for his rude remark at the same time, I knew our relationship was already blossoming.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

3. Thank you for every meal you have ever purchased me.

And chocolate, and candy...you know just as well as your son does that food is the way to my heart. Especially Taco Bell and cheesecake ;)

4. Thank you for your advice, suggestions, and opinions...and asking for mine

Whether it's telling me to slap him for being a smart a$$, or you're asking me about color swabs for your kitchen makeover, you come to me as if I am your own, and I am so honored to give you my own input.

5. Thank you for including me

You never fail to leave a spot for me, and I love family dinners/outings with you guys just as much as I love my own!

6. Thank you for teaching your son to never give up, and that if he does it is only to better himself, or it's the only choice he has left.

He is so focused on his future, he wants the best for himself, and he is constantly reminding me that these are things that YOU taught him, you deserve to be so proud.

7. Thank you for letting him love my family, and allowing me to love yours.

He is so loyal and loving to my family, and I don't even have to ask myself why because I see him with you and yours. Thank you for letting us double up on holidays when we can, and making sure we get the most out of our time with you!

8. Thank you for being his best friend.

I think of him as mine too, but I couldn't think of a better person to also hold that title, you know him better than anyone else and you always will.

9. Thank you for teaching him how to treat a woman

He is constantly telling me "You sound like my mother." Thankfully earlier in our relationship, he told me that the woman he wants to be with, should do just that. He always tells people who try, "No, no one calls me by my full name except my mom and my girlfriend."

10. Thank you for your honesty

We all know that he and I can drive you crazy sometimes, thank you for telling us like it is, and making sure we know you still love us anyways.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

11. Thank you for teaching him to work as hard as possible in anything and everything he does.

I have never met anyone with such a desire for success, he and I are constantly discussing how we can better our futures, and I know exactly where his drive comes from.

12. Thank you for teaching him to clean up after himself

Even though sometimes, it takes him a minute to do so.

13. Thank you for teaching him how to love, and letting him love me.

I have never felt so loved by a man, probably because anyone else who came into my life was just a boy. Thank you for your unconditional love for him, he is your entire heart and that is so easy to see, I am happy to share his with you.

You and I both know that even years from now we will both occasionally probably be closing the fridge that he left open, cleaning the crumbs he dropped, demanding he take a shower after playing soccer, or reminding him 20 times about plans we made weeks ago, we both share such a great love for such an amazing man. I could never be more thankful that you brought forth into this world such a comforting, supportive, protective, steadfast, driven, handsome, and hilarious guy. Thank you for everything you do for him, for me, and for us, I love you a lot!

Cover Image Credit: casey

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Dear Mom And Dad, I Couldn't Have Done College Without You

For all the tearful phone calls, threats to drop out and moments of self-doubt, I have to thank my parents for always believing in me.

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Reaching my final year in college has made me very nostalgic and has led me to reminisce, often, on the experiences each year which brought me to where I am now. Looking back, college was no cake walk. I had many difficult experiences, I struggle academically and I went through many things that forced me to reevaluate who I was, who I wanted to become and how I was going to get there.

Through a school transfer, a change in major and every challenge I've faced in the past four years, there has been one constant: the unconditional love and support of my parents.

My parents have always taken an active interest in my student life. My mom is a grade school teacher and has always pushed my sister and me to be the best students we could be. When we were young, my parents always read to us before bed and it wasn't long before they had us reading to them instead. Because my parents had us reading early, I was reading on a third grade level in the first grade and always excelled in language arts subjects in school.

My parents have also been adamant about knowing what is going with our studies and they still are, despite both my sister and I, being in college.

They're always asking us if we have tests coming up and about what we're studying in our classes. Sometimes, the constant checking-in can feel a bit like helicopter-parenting but, knowing that my parents are taking an interest in my education and want to make sure I am successful is really what has pushed me through college.

I've doubted myself many, many times throughout my time in college.

When I transferred schools, I found that my academics were much more difficult at the College of Charleston than they had been at my previous university. I was a biology major at the time and found myself struggling with academic requirements, my course load and the difficulty level of most of the courses I was enrolled in.

This was during my sophomore year and every time I called home in tears because I was overwhelmed, stressed and wanting to drop out - a frequent occurrence during this time - my parents were always there with words of encouragement and advice for success.

It was my parents who suggested I consider changing my major, which I did the next year, and this changed my whole outlook on my ability to succeed in college.

Now, as a psychology major, I am enrolled in courses that interest me and, thus, challenge me to a level that I can succeed at. I never would have considered changing my major had my parents not suggested it. I thought I knew what my future career would be and I thought I needed to follow the specific plan I had in order to get there. One of the most important lessons I have learned in college, however, is that the whole point of college is to find your path and most people start in one place but, many of them end up in a very different place than they began in.

College is this whole, wild, unpredictable, exciting experience of change and self-discovery.

It is definitely not easy and the journey to finding your path is not all sunshine and rainbows. The things you experience, the people you meet and the things you learn, both academically and socially, will help you learn what you want, what you need and to develop a plan to get you there. Hopefully, you have parents who are as supportive, encouraging and caring as mine are.

Through the hardships, times of self-doubt and the many changes you will go through, you can lean on your parents for guidance, advice and for a soothing voice to help you stay sane.

I never would have made it to where I am now without my parents, both in college and in my life as a whole. Today, I am graduating with a degree in psychology, intentions to go to graduate school, to get my doctorate, to conduct research and, in the long-term, to become a professor teaching students the subject that I am so passionate about.

I no longer doubt my intelligence nor do I doubt that I am capable of achieving my goals and, for this, I have my parents to thank.

Mom and Dad, I do not say it nearly enough but, I couldn't have gotten to where I am without you. The lessons you've taught me and your undying, unconditional love, encouragement and support have made me the woman I am today. I hope I have made you proud and that I continue to do so as I continue to grow into the person I am meant to be. Thank you for all you have done, still, do and will likely do in the future. You're the best parents in the entire world and I love you both very much.

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