Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thankless Jobs

Though I have no experience as being either, I have concluded that being a soldier is a little bit like being a parent of a teenager. I am a civilian and I was once a teenager- and as both, I have taken my privileges and rights for granted.

As a teen, do you really realize how much effort goes into raising you? And did you ever, EVER thank your parents for their hard work during your teen years? My parents were always there to support me, to encourage me, and to cheer me on despite the fight that happened the night before, or the inconveniences of taking me to the places I needed to go, or the simple fact that I, at times, was a ticking time bomb that could explode at any moment. Needless to say, I hear it is a pretty thankless job.

While soldiers today aren't treated with such disrespect as they were in the Vietnam era, I am still fairly certain that it is also a thankless job. Some may get some praise and support when they leave for deployment and possibly receive a grand welcome home party upon return. What about all of that hard work and dedication to serve (even in pink boxers) in the hundreds of days in between? What about the soldiers who don't have support from loved ones at home?

This picture made the cover of The New York Times earlier this year.

The reason this is on my mind today is because a friend is leaving today for his training to be deployed to Africa next month. Here is a picture of Rich with his kiddos home from leave during his last deployment in 2008 (Emma was a student in our Sunday school class at the time. Connor will be in the class next fall.)

Rich is so fortunate to have such a great family that supports him along with friends and his church. Not everyone is so lucky. So, how can we be grateful, thankful citizens and let all soldiers know that we stand behind them?
  • We should pray for them daily.
  • Go out of your way to say "thanks" when you see a soldier in uniform.
  • Send an encouraging note or a package of goodies to a soldier (don't know one personally- check out You can browse through hundreds of Unit Leaders who have registered and requested specific requests for their groups. The leader will deliver the packages to soldiers who do not receive packages from friends and family at home.
  • Say something encouraging to the families of soldiers. They will find comfort knowing you are praying too.
  • Do something special for the families of the soldiers. It's hard to be a soldier living in the desert. It's also hard to be a wife of a soldier with a 2 year old and a newborn to take care of all by yourself. (You did a great job, Jessica!) Offer to cook a meal, watch the kids, take the kids to karate lessons.
  • Donate time or money to an organization that sponsor's soldiers and their families. is a great place to look for opportunities- they have several organizations listed, so click on one that interests you. From being a greeter for soldiers coming home to working with the kids of deployed soldiers- there's something for everyone!
Just like we all can't be doctors and we all can't be President- we can't all participate in every single one of these activities. But if we could all do a thing or two, once or twice a year imagine what it could mean to our servicemen and their families. It may not make their deployment shorter or the conditions less harsh, but feeling appreciated can make a world of difference in anyone's job- especially a soldier.

This past fall, our Sunday school class partnered up with the Women's Bible study class to send a package to several soldiers. The kids painted signs for each package- a simple gesture, and the moment our friend Josh received the package, he hung up the poster and posted a picture- and it remains his profile picture even 6 months later.

To all of our soldiers and veterans: Thank you SO much for your service. Thank you for sacrificing your standard of living, time with your families, and most of all your lives to protect our freedoms and to uphold our Constitution.


  1. Such a beautiful post! We can all use a reminder to be thankful for the things that these men do for us. Each and every day.

    And thank you for the kind words you left me - they definitely had the desired effect!

  2. beautiful post. Visiting you from SITS Sat share fest. Have a fabulous memorial day weekend.


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