My dad had been deployed three times in his 35 years of military service. My mom did a fantastic job running things at home, but my family still needed lots of support during those long months. Deployment is a very difficult event for soldiers and their families.
Many of us know someone who has been deployed or has a family member that is deployed, and it can be hard to know how to help. These six simple things helped our family get through each deployment period.
6 Ways to Support Someone During Deployment
1. Stay in contact!
Texts, visits, cards, letters, emails, phone calls, packages- anything that lets both the family at home and the person deployed know that they are thought about. Let them know you are close by to help when needed.
2. Be Mindful of What You Say
Don’t say things like, “Oh, have they already been gone that long?” or “I can’t believe how fast the time is going!” It doesn’t seem to go by quickly for the military family.
3. Offer Support with the Person’s Children
Attend the children’s activities or events so the spouse at home isn’t always alone. Offer words of encouragement to them. If your children are friends with their children, invite them to do a few fun activities.
4. Lift their load!
Responsibilities have likely multiplied for the head of household. Helping with yard work, making a meal, offering rides, or praying for them can ease a little stress.
5. Be Patient
Understand that the military family is under a lot of emotional stress without their loved one. Be patient when they are sad, and sad for a long time.
6. Display Support for the Family
Support Our Troops car magnets
, garden flags
, or yard signs
(affiliate links) are great ways to show support. You can also tie ribbons around trees in your yard, like my family did in honor of my dad. During my dad’s second deployment, several teachers from my school purchased car magnets or pinned yellow ribbons to their lanyards. This was such a sweet gesture that meant a lot to our family.
As a child of a soldier, I know firsthand that these things help so much. I still remember the incredible support my family received while Dad was away, and the wonderful people who gave it. Small acts of kindness added up and made the deployments a little easier to bear.
To the military and their families- thank you for all your sacrifices. Thank you to their friends, for giving support.