Through the years, I’ve noticed a plethora of programs and initiatives that connect military
families but a culture that maintains a gap between Active Duty Members with their Guard and Reserve counterparts. Distance can be destructive, and I wanted to help connect our communities. It took some time to understand and gather resources for what works, but I found three common practices among families and units that also shared the highest levels of inclusion, resilience and support..
The first practice is to seek diverse perspectives from the individuals around you. In highlighting one another’s lived experiences we discover both commonalities and how added diversity strengthens our toolbox of options. The second practice is intentional inclusion. Consistently inviting all services and families to celebrate and participate in community functions such as religious traditions, social functions, fundraisers, training, promotions/retirements/changes of command, and milestone events like graduations. The third practice was reflection, an intentional effort for each of us to reevaluate bias and misconceptions of other service members regarding their effort, interest or motivations. Military spouses are essential to dissolving the unnecessary division between service affiliations. By forming connections across the installation, we can bridge the Reserve - Guard - Active Duty divide, branch divide, and even civilian-military divide. Bridging this gap among military families matters because we all gain strength from a united military community that supports all service members, regardless of service affiliation. We are one team, one fight.