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Military Family Impacts

  • Published
  • By Maj. David Mays
  • 90th Security Support Squadron commander
Growing up, my dad instilled in me the importance of family. My dad is a retired Army first sergeant, and after I enlisted in the Air Force many years ago, I continue to work hard towards watching, protecting, providing and enjoying my family. Family makes a big impact on everyone, and when I define family it could be your wife, husband, children, pets, friends, significant others and anyone close to you who you enjoy spending time with and consider close to you.

Traveling from base to base over the last few years, the impact my family has on me drives me to work harder, stay engaged and strive for consistent positive improvement. The Air Force offers many programs and opportunities to have fun with your family. Every base, regardless of location, provides great opportunities to engage with the local community, spend time with your family and enjoy all the off-duty activities available.

I recently had the pleasure of retiring a good friend and senior noncommissioned officer from the Air Force after serving more than 20 years! As I prepped my retirement speech, I thought about all the mini adventures that our families have shared while stationed in Italy and Louisiana. These mini adventures all made impacts on us and our families as we continue to grow in our careers. I appreciate the opportunities the Air Force has provided my family and I to learn, grow and enjoy our bases.

I think that I learn a lot more from my family then they learn from me. Over the years I have learned to be more patient, accountable for my actions and understand that it is not about me, it's about family. As I have grown, so has my family and friends. We have friends and those I consider family at many different locations and bases in the United States and in Europe. There are those who are deployed, geographically separated, recently retired and those who you are unable to visit, but a quick email or phone call will let them know that you are thinking about them. It is much easier to stay in touch these days with emails, texts, Facebook and all those other electronic devices we have to have.

Being more patient involves hard work and a mind shift from anger to laughter when you can't change the outcome of a situation. For example, if I take my family to a restaurant and we're starving because we haven't eaten all day and the waitress gets our order wrong or brings us the wrong food or it takes a long time for the food to arrive, it may turn tragic. But, there is nothing we can do to fix that situation, there is no need to get angry, but it maybe a good time to share in laughter. Because if we get mad or angry, then what example are we setting for those at the table with us?. Knowing we were not going to starve to death, the kids were well entertained and hearing the wait staff or manager say they were sorry so many times that they were sorry for saying sorry made it that much more funny!

My dad also taught me that the family we have is the family we have and we can't change that. I am not sure who he was referring to back then, maybe a crazy uncle or outrageous aunt that we had, but he taught us to love and enjoy those around us. Today, as many years have passed, I think I have figured out the ones he was talking about then, and now they just make me laugh.

The moral of these stories is to enjoy your family, learn from your family, appreciate your family and know that we have many different family members all of them can make a positive impact on you and your career. All the events that happen during your life are stories, either good or bad. As the holiday season approaches, take time to enjoy those around you. Take a friend out to eat, call your loved ones if you're unable to visit and appreciate those close to you. It is easy to get wrapped up in your work, school and daily life, but we can't forget the ones we lean on when we need them.