Tag Archives: service

Should My Son Choose the Military

Son military

To my precious boy—

I look at you now, playing on the floor, surrounded by trains and cars and millions and millions of Legos and tiny green soldiers, and my heart wants to burst as I watch you.

Can I freeze this moment? Can I keep you little forever?

You still think I’m one of the smartest people you’ve ever met. Your little mind is still innocent—you don’t quite grasp the horrors that mankind is known to inflict. Your world is tiny and you giggle at silly things like cartoons and mud and bugs.

You are little.

But one day you will be a man.

When that day comes, I’m certain I’ll think back to these moments—the ones we are living now, and I’ll wonder how they went by so quickly.

And if you should tell me that you want to serve our country in the military, I know for certain that my heart will move in a thousand different directions in a single second.

Will I be proud of you for your choice, my son?

Absolutely. I will be proud that you’ve chosen to continue a family tradition of military service. I will be proud that the patriotism I pray we are instilling in you now has led you to make a decision to want to protect the great freedoms this country allows for its inhabitants. I will be enormously proud that you understand that military service is something to be respected and honored, and that you want to be counted among the many who have served in honor of the tenets on which this nation was founded.

toy soliderI will be proud that you’ve chosen the practical applications of military service—funding for your education and skills that will benefit you should you choose a career in the private sector later on or a career in the military–skills like leadership and self-discipline.

I will be proud that you are educated enough to understand the state of the world. Although I can only imagine what the world will be like by the time your tiny feet are able to fill man-sized combat boots, I pray that between now and then you will live outside of the American Bubble and develop an understanding of world affairs—enough to know that serving the USA often means helping and serving those across the world.

Will my heart burn with fear?

Most certainly. While you may never understand the reasons, I’ve prayed over you since before you were you were born. I’ve prayed for your future, and although I do not know what it holds, I know that my God does. And so I will struggle with the fear of knowing that you might be in danger because of the path you’ve chosen, and I will have to cling to the belief that my God knows you and loves you even more than I do. He will protect you, he will sustain you, and should I ever have to face a dreadful day when you might not be with me anymore, although I can’t imagine it, He will sustain me, too.

I will love you, my son, for your courageous choice. I will love you, respect you, and appreciate you for your willingness to put your life on the line for our country.

I will love you because you’ve chosen the military, even if for a short time, as your mission field. For I pray, my son, that your life will be a reflection of Christ, and your willingness to serve will come from the Ultimate Sacrifice given by Christ our Savior.

And so I pray now, while you are little, for your future. You must know that I will be proud of any future choice you make for your life, so I pray that you will seek the direction of God and that you will remember that you can do anything through Christ who gives you strength. 

To my precious boy who will one day be a man—no matter what your future holds, know that should you tell me you’ve chosen military service, you’ll have the respect, honor and love of not just your mama, but many grateful hearts around the world.


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Filed under Parenting, The Christian Walk

What I’ve Gotten from My Dad – So Far

Happy Father’s Day!  In honoring my own wonderful Daddy, I want to share with you the things he’s given me in my life – so far.

– My blue eyes.
– My love of history.  We like to bore the rest of the family to tears discussing historical events & religion.  It’s awesome.  Family dinners are a blast (well, not so much for the non-history lovers).
– A sense of duty- my dad served our country in the Army for over 20 years.
– A sense of patriotism.  He loves this country more than anyone I know, and still gets choked up when he talks about those who’ve sacrificed their lives serving it.
– A wicked sense of humor.  At first glance, he appears to be a quiet, reserved man, but he has the most hilarious sense of humor that appears when one least expects it.  I’ll never forget one particular night (maybe 15 years ago or more) when he made me laugh until I cried.  “Thank you, Air Force.”  He’s made me laugh until I’ve cried a lot of times since.
– Driving lessons.  With white knuckles and a sweating brow, he taught me to drive.  I still hear his voice in my head when I’m on the road- he’s usually telling me that I’m following too closely.
– Security- I used to hate it when I was a kid and he’d walk with his hand on the back of my neck.  It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that there are a bazillion security risks you take with your kids daily, and I now often walk with my hand on the back of my son’s neck.
– Integrity- my daddy has more integrity in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.  He taught me that doing the right thing is more important than being right.
– A love of fishing.
– How to pray- my daddy uses every opportunity to pray for those whom he loves.  It’s inspiring.
– The love of our Savior- he has always been a great example of Christ’s unconditional love.  What a blessing to me and to my own children.
– Car maintenance.  My daddy takes exceptional care of his vehicles.  I’m embarrassed when he sees the inside of my car trashed out.
– A sense of service.  My daddy is the kind of man who will drop whatever he’s doing and help you with anything.  Whether it’s changing a tire or giving you the shirt off his back, he’s always willing to help.
– Faith- throughout many ups and downs in his life, never once has my dad doubted the love and faithfulness of the God he serves wholeheartedly. 

Daddy, you’ve taught me many other things, and I’m certain that I’ll learn even more from you.  Thank you for being a wonderful father and grandfather.  I love you so much.  And thank you for letting me use your chest as a table for my tea parties when I was little. 

Readers- what lessons have you learned from your father or what special memories do you have with your dad?

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The Soldier Stigma

I am a military brat.  I am so proud of the fact that my father dutifully served our country in the United States Army for over 20 years, including during the Gulf War.  It’s part of who I am.  Growing up as an Army brat provided me the opportunity to travel and meet people from various cultures and religions and have a greater understanding of the world from a very young age.  My grandfather served in the US Navy, and now my brother is serving in the National Guard.  It’s a heritage of dedication to service.

As a history teacher, it really gets under my skin when people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but I’ve learned to let it go, simply because I don’t think there can be enough holidays to recognize the amazing things that our soldiers and their families do for all of us civilians.

However, on this Memorial Day, when patriotism and gratitude for our military seems to flow from every set of lips, I wanted to take a moment to address a “stigma” that seems to run rampant among the civilian world.  I’ll give you an example.

Several years ago I was teaching a lesson in my classroom and I said something about someone joining the military after high school.  A student looked at me and with all seriousness said, “Mrs. Hale, isn’t the Army just for stupid people who can’t get into college?”

(DEEP breath.  Do not hit student.  Do NOT hit student!! — These were the words running through my head at the time.)  I calmly explained to the young woman that if it weren’t for the many, many, many intelligent, brave, and educated men and women who have served our country faithfully, the United States of America would not have prevailed in the many battles we’ve fought since our nation’s birth.

Why is it that many of the same people who openly profess their gratitude for our service men and women actually believe that the military is a calling only for those who can’t do anything else?

And a career in the military is indeed a calling.  It calls to those who desire to be better, stronger, and faster.  It calls to those who are looking for ways to provide for their families while making a difference in the lives of millions.  It calls to those who hold no college degrees, or are highly educated.  It calls to those with a sense of duty and honor, and a deep-seeded love for the democracy on which this nation was founded.  It calls to those who are braver, more passionate, and more dedicated than most of us could ever be.  It calls to those who love to serve, who can be disciplined, and can respond and act within a fraction of a second.  It calls to those who are willing to die.

Perhaps my perception of this abundance of ignorance about the military is misguided, but it seems to me that in my life, I’ve crossed paths with multiple people who, while grateful for the service of others, have no idea what the heart of a soldier is like.  I don’t know why these people continue to perpetuate the myth that the military is the catch-all for the dregs of society; for those who can’t go to college or aren’t smart enough to do anything else.  Wars aren’t won by idiots.

Thank God for those willing to serve, willing to sacrifice time with their loved ones, and willing to die so that we might continue to enjoy our freedoms.  I continue to pray that those who enjoy these freedoms will at some point try to understand the valiant, wise, and brave heart of a solider.


Filed under Just For Fun, Uncategorized