Music for the Military
by: Cami Smith
So how do you deal with people you love leaving on a regular basis and not coming home for 6-12 months or longer?
I don’t know that I would be able to handle that myself without support from other people that are going through the same or a similar situation. I have moved far away from my family and lived away from them for many years, but that was my choice and I was an adult when that happened.
There are military families that go through such a routine every year and sometimes more than 1 time per year. What is worse is the children do not have a choice in the matter. According to Kids Turn statistics, these children experience a change of schools 5-9 times and an average of 5-7 deployments before the age of 18. Many children see their parent or sibling going off to war or deploying somewhere out of the country and are not given much notice to do so. As one can imagine, this is very alarming for the spouse, parent, and children. Such situations can be very unsettling for children and upsets their routines and life balance. So, what is out there that can help these children deal with such situations?
Villa Musica and Kids Turn have started a Peak Performance class for military families. “With over 75% of military couples having a marriage that ends in divorce, classes are designed to preserve the family by bringing military members, spouses and children together to build empathy and understanding while learning new communication skills and strategies for family members to stay connected before, during and after deployments and other military transitions.” (Kids Turn)
“Anticipated outcomes for parents: learn three new skills/concepts and commit to using one of the new skills/concepts right away. Anticipated child outcomes: children will learn that their thoughts, feelings and experiences are similar to others, thus normalizing their experiences, and will honor their family through drawings and the creation of a song that is performed to the parents.” (Kids Turn)
This FREE class happens every 3-4 months where military families and their children come and learn coping strategies to deal with family members leaving on deployment, going through a separation, or divorce.
I lead the music part of the class with the children. After learning that there are many other children going through similar situations and have similar thoughts, ideas, or concerns about their family members, we engage in music making and singing about how proud they are of them. This is where the children have a chance to express how proud they are of their parents, siblings, friends, or any others that are important to them. They also have a chance to play the drums or boomwhackers and enjoy some music making during the class.
Why come to this class? This is a great educational opportunity for children and their parents to discuss their fears, upsets, excitement, and proud moments with others going through the same or similar situation. At a recent class, one of our young participants stated “My dad is the military because he helps better the world by helping the different people all over the world.” During our “I’m Proud” activity, she reads, “I’m proud of my mom because she is loving, caring and takes care of me and our whole family.”
I’m not part of the parent education, but one of the parents stated on the class evaluation: “I’m going to apply what I learned to my relationship with my children. Listening to my spouse is probably the first thing I will do and practice.” Come join us for this musical, educational experience January 31, 2015 from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at Serra High School.
Please register online at www.kidsturnsd.org by Jan. 26th!!! Walk-ins are also welcome.