101 Tips for Troops – #7

Communication – Tip #7

Whether you are 18 or 80 years old you have people in your life that love you, worry about you and think of you constantly.  You may not always see it as love and find it annoying at times but they love you and care about you all the same.   While you are away, you must think of the immediate moment, put to the back of your mind thoughts of home friends or family so it can become challenging to remember to write, phone or email them as often as they would like on top of the limitations of not having a phone, computer or time to communicate.

I was recently speaking at a Blue Star Mothers conference in Washington.  Not only were these women all mothers of someone in the military they were also incredibly inspiring.   I learned so much listening to their incredible stories and there was a common link between many of them – communication and the lack of it.  Some of this can be blamed on the circumstances of being deployed or out in the middle of nowhere and not being able to get to a phone or computer but some of the blame can lie with you.  It didn’t seem to matter whether you were married, single, deployed or posted somewhere remote – communication could have been better.  Here are my tips on making those who love you feel comforted, cared for and loved in return.

Tips:

* Make a plan with family and friends prior to going on any extended absence or deployment about how you will be communicating (email, monthly phone call, letter, etc.)

* Create a phone or email ‘tree’ and give it out to everyone.  This way everyone can hear from you and about how you are doing when one person does.  Put at least two people at the top of the tree in case someone is away or unable to do it.

* Create a mailing list and when you are able to get to a computer send out an email to the list about how you are doing and let them know what communication is like and what they can expect

* Set up an account at a local florist to send out flowers or some other little gift on family member’s or friend’s birthdays or just for no other reason but to let them know you care

* When returning from a deployment, let your family and friends know when they can expect to hear from you and how they can reach you – don’t leave them trying to guess when you have returned and why you aren’t calling them

* When returning write a quick email to your mailing list letting them know you are home safely and will contact them again in ________ days/weeks or next month

For more information about our tips, resources or books go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

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