Fort Campbell. 101st Airborne Division. The images those few words elicit are patriotic. Powerful. But from where does this community’s pride and strength come? Yes, the legendary history of the unit and the bravery of the men and women who have served both come to mind but today, right now, where do the soldiers from the top of the food chain to the bottom go to for physical, mental, and emotional rejuvenation? Their family. Their circle of trusted loved ones, kin by birth or kin by choice.
In a lot of ways in today’s society of entitlement, instant gratification and constant life comparison over social media, the family has been devalued. Innumerable demands eat away at our time and energy and the family has suffered. And therefore, so has our community. We seem to relate better to old high school classmates, whom we have not seen in person for years save their Facebook page, than we do to our spouse who we see every day — well, who we see most evenings because the military life does demand a lot of our soldier’s time. This year, let’s try to relate better to our spouse, that person whom we love and are committed to. Let’s focus our energy away from the imaginary rat race and life-comparison outlets streaming constantly into our homes and focus back on what really matters: our family and our community. Let’s close the communication gap and try to really understand what the military culture and community is all about. This does not require an eerie Stepford Wife subjugation to our soldier spouse. No. This simply requires a sincere attempt to better understand the military life so that we can better support our soldier and be better citizens of our Fort Campbell community. Some of the misnomers and misunderstandings about the military culture can be humorous on paper and make for entertaining comic strips, but the reality of the scenarios can be a bit brutal. Especially if they play out within the four walls of our home.
This month, let’s start with opening lines of communication and honestly ask about, and then honestly listen to, how our spouse’s day was. This is a good start to a good journey.
Let’s have some fun and enjoy all the perks, tangible and relational, that this community has to offer. And let’s resolve to close out 2017 with stronger-than-ever families and community because, let’s be honest, this is a good life. And it is our choice to be in this brave and resilient community so let’s choose to make the best of it.
Tricia Johnson is an Army spouse and veteran originally from Spokane, Washington. She enjoyed world travels in her 20s but is now grateful to be settled in Clarksville. Tricia has a B.S. in international relations and M.A. in elementary education. She uses her schooling to try to relate to and guide her three vivacious young kids. When formal schooling tactics fail, she just embraces getting silly and messy. Tricia is exploring the elusive idea of having hobbies because someone once told her that adults were allowed to have them. Until she locks one of those in she simply enjoys being outdoors, active and present for her family.