When I raised the question of whether or not the 'nomadic' lifestyle was
good for our communities, Ginger responded with her own personal
experiences in a Navy family.
I raise it as an issue, not because I know any answers, but because it is
worth thinking about. Ginger's anecdotal perspective is a valid opinion.
My experience living in a navy town for the last 20 years has been
different. However, that too is just another anecdote. It would be good
to hear other viewpoints. I have heard a number of private responses that
agreed, and some that disagreed. Let's get the discussion out in the open
where we can all examine the issues and learn.
I know from a lot of conversations that not all families experience Navy
life the way Ginger did. Family strength -- and hers sounds like a strong
family -- can offset the negatives. The negatives do not, however, go
away, and they may take energy away from other potential growth
opportunities. On the other hand, there can be positive outcomes to the
situations Ginger describes. Nothing in life is exclusively bad -- or
exclusively good. My question is what is the _net_ societal impact across
all families. Not, what does one family experience.
I, too, know many 'Navy' kids who are fine, mature, active members of the
school and community. There are also troubled and challenging kids among
those who have lived in town their whole lives. There is no bright line
distinction to be drawn based on whether kids are navy or not.
Nevertheless, school officials describe it as especially challenging to
help the Navy kids integrate into their community in a healthy way.
Regarding families I know that there are many normal, healthy families who
manage their stresses -- whatever they are -- in a healthy way. And there
are many community families who do not. General perceptions, however, are
that enforced separations, lack of community, and so on, make the
challlenges more difficult for the Navy folks.
The Navy does a wonderful job providing support for families that have to
deal with the stresses associated with the job. The fact that they do
this is reflective of a recognized need. Unfortunately, no one provides
these support systems for the non-military migrants. The existence of the
Navy's program proves -- to me -- that there are increased needs for these
Ginger describes using TQM with her spouse to identify their life
priorities. Would that al families did such, but it isn't the case either
among military or non-military families.
I agree wholeheartedly that military families participate actively in town
activities -- volunteer organizations, religious activities, spouses in
business endeavors, etc. I have no idea if this applies to non-military
migrants, but it may well.
Navy families also have some advantages that other migrant families do not
have. There is a navy base with perhaps thousands of other families that
have the same experiences, and they provide a built-in community of people
who can help each other cope with stresses. Where does the non-military
family find these supports?
The same shared community is available to the military kids. where do the
non-military kids find these supports?
Military families tend to participate in community activities together as
one of their social outlets. When I led the building of a playground at a
local school, Navy families joined in -- enthusiastically -- as a bloc
because they decided largely as a bloc to participate, have fun, and make
social contacts. The military grapevine was a great way to make a lot of
contacts and raise a lot of volunteers quickly. They were great
participants. But where does the non-military family find the support
group that says, 'hey, let's go do this together, and have some fun.'?
Based on my experience, the military life highlights some of the
challenges facing migrant families. But what do other people think?
-- Rol Fessenden LL Bean email@example.com
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>