People often say the Army is like a family. A family is generally a nurturing, supportive institution filled with love and encouragement. At first glance, it is probably difficult to see these qualities in an Army life where it’s all about being “Army strong” and “putting the mission first”.
When I first encountered the FRG, I admittedly wasn’t all that impressed. But as I saw more and learned more, I began to see how it indeed was a good thing. I started to feel like someone out there cared at least a little about me, aside from my husband who was in Iraq and my family who was thousands of miles and an ocean away.
Then I was invited to attend a spouses club luncheon. I was nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I had only really conversed with other newbies. I felt like I didn’t know anything about anything. I was pleasantly surprised by how approachable and welcoming everyone was.
Have you ever tried something new only to feel like everyone thought you looked stupid? Or asked a question and felt like you had to be the only person present that didn’t actually know the answer? I have often felt that way in the civilian world, like everyone was against me.
When I first stepped into the FRG and spouses club, I was really surprised how supportive the others were…no question was stupid, every effort was appreciated. I certainly never felt stupid…out of place at times, yes, as it was a new world to me…but not stupid or unwelcome. They were in all there to support me.
Soldiers have chain of commands, battle buddies, chaplains, teams and platoons to help support them; but these people – mostly other spouses – were there for me. It was, to say the least, comforting.
I was so far from home (we were stationed overseas in Germany) yet I was prepared to tackle this life all on my own and make it. How nice it was to see that I didn’t have to do it all alone like I thought.
It’s even more astounding I think to know that the people who make these organizations run do it for FREE. They volunteer. Now there are always a few bad apples in every batch…but I think just that fact alone shows the heart of the leaders of the military affiliated clubs and FRGs , of which there are a striking amount.
The Army is indeed a family. Clubs and organizations like the FRG, Spouses Club and many others are little branches of the family designed to help you find the place where you fit in and give you support.
The Army wants spouses to be happy and succeed. It often doesn’t seem like that at all, but they do, because a happy spouse leads to a happier (read: more productive) soldier. I think the only bad thing about clubs and organizations in the military is there isn’t always enough participation.
In my future posts, I hope to answer questions and to help shake some of the misconceptions about military affiliated clubs and organizations to help more people get involved and get the support that is out there waiting for them. I also hope to explore some of the various different clubs and organizations that maybe aren’t as well known as the FRG and Spouses club.