It’s that time of year again! When “the lists” are sent out by branch managers to our soldiers with location and job options for an impending PCS move. Five months from now, our family will embark on yet another PCS (AKA “Arnett Adventure”) to add to our family historical chronicles.
This will mark our seventh move (only fifth with kids), so we’ve got this whole PCS thing down to a science. Thank goodness we will PCS in the summer so the weather will add to our positive perks.
We are thankful for the experiences the military has provided our family such as opportunities to live in new geographic locations by immersing ourselves into the diversity of new communities and cultures. We have also had the luxury of expanding and opening our children’s worldviews as their perceptions about humanity are ever-forming during this time in their youth.
Trying to remain positive before a PCS move doesn’t always prevail, or at least it doesn’t for me, as I deeply miss the relationships among friends and communities of past duty stations.
What do we do as a family to combat these anxious feelings?
How do we prompt positive energy before, during, and after a PCS?
How do we train our minds into seeing the glass half-full whilst serving as the leader of our tribe?
The only reason I teeter back and forth between the continuity of perpetual positivity during a PCS is because of the very things I’m thankful for which accompany change: meeting new people, engaging in fresh adventures and experiences as a family unit, immersing our children in new local activities, accepting the sense of community that will shape their personalities, and communicating that everything is going to be OK!
These emotionally challenging times are crucial to our children’s development as well. How they cope with change, what their attitudes and perceptions of consistent inconsistency will mean for their future paths. How they transition to new schools, cultures, ideologies, progression, relationships, leaders, or politics.
Never fear because we are not in this alone! There are vast amounts of resources online, through your garrison, or within your own grasp, but you have the power and willfulness to seek these out for your family. Here’s a summary of our family’s checklist once we find out our new duty station:
• Explore the area online
• Go to our local library and check out any books that will add knowledge to our new adventure
• Research our boys’ new schools
• Search for local day camps to build new relationships
• Check out outdoor adventures such as nature centers, parks, trails, etc.
Make sure to solicit ideas with suggestions and action plans from each of your children to do within the first week, weeks, and months of the move. Make them feel like they own a piece of your family’s new adventure and allow their spirits the momentum to be courageous and be in control.
No parent has all the right answers. What works for one child might not work for another, but that is the beauty of being part of this diverse lifestyle among other military families. We can lean on our fellow military families to empathize and connect during this stressful time.
We share similar experiences, challenges, triumphs, and celebrate pride in the strength of our family unit. No, it’s not easy being positive, but when it comes to our families, you better believe we’ll prompt that positivity for the well-being of our children any day of the PCS season!
Cheers to your new PCS adventure and until then, continue promoting that positive PCS energy!