Taking care of families

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua P. Barnes
  • 21st Space Wing Plans and Programs
As members of the United States Air Force, the world’s greatest Air Force, we all have many opportunities to celebrate great successes, promotions, significant achievements, awards, and other wonderful accomplishments that often times culminate in careers that end in retirement. Not one of these previously listed milestones is celebrated without taking the time to recognize the support, sacrifice, and love that we all receive from our families.

Family members are not just dependents, but are a critical part of the Air Force family, and play a vital role in the Air Force mission. It is important for all Airmen to take time to care for our “live-in” support systems. We do this by taking care of our families. The support of our families, friends, loved ones, and significant others directly affects the success of every Airman, and as a result is a contribution to the overall success of the Air Force mission.

So how do we take care of our families? We take care of our families by ensuring they are taken care of completely. Not just taking care of financial needs, or medical and insurance needs, but also taking care of personal needs such as love, attention, quality time, affection and interaction needs. Studies have shown that children make a direct correlation between how loved they feel as a result of how much time is spent with them by their parents. So in essence, the more time a parent spends with their children, the more loved their children feel.

In the military, the greatest demand on a service member is the demand for their time. As a result, spouses and children feel loved less, or even unloved because their service member is unable to spend time in abundance with them. The best way to mitigate the effects of the demands on a service member’s time is to be purposeful and intentional about making the most of the time they do have with their loved ones. As often as possible plan date nights with your spouse, read stories to your children every night before bed, and try to be as consistent as possible in routines with friends and family that let them know how much they are valued in your life.

Finding the balance between family time and on-duty time is vitally important. One of the common reminders, often times shared with junior ranking subordinates, is that a service member with a family needs to correctly prioritize time, responsibilities, and career aspirations. The old adage says that the Air Force will continue to exist long after a service member separates, or retires. The question remains whether or not the service member’s family will still be with them at the end of their time in service.

In order to ensure the desired outcome at the end of an honorable career, a service member has to find the correct balance of time spent on the mission, and time spent with their family. This is how service members take care of their families, and why taking care of family members is so vitally important!