Childhood can be hard enough without adding the pressures of war. Military children face obstacles that many people cannot even fathom. Even without war, these kids are moving approximately every three years. Could you imagine having to make new friends every three years, or attending five different schools by the time you reach high school? It sounds like a lot because it is, and even though children are known to be resilient these transitions can take a toll on them.
Operation Hero is set up to be a place where kids can talk freely with other kids who are experiencing the same struggles. Each week the instructor chooses one theme to focus on, each one relating directly to military life. This ten-week program touches on topics such as bullying, emotions, self-esteem, family, teamwork, and of course deployment.
This week our focus is on responsibility. We chose this theme because when a parent is deployed, injured, suffering from PTSD, etc., the children end up taking on more responsibility around the house. For younger ones it might be extra chores, but the older they are the more they are expected to help. Sometimes these children even become the only emotional support system for the remaining parent as well as siblings. Walking through the doors at Operation Hero means that they can forget their home responsibilities and anything else that is going on to focus on their own feelings and learn techniques to help them through the difficult days.