Military boot camp support

For the next few weeks, many parents are dreading saying goodbye to their kids as they drop them off at college. For parents of new military recruits and cadets at military academies, however, there’s a different set of concerns. With training lasting for 7 to 12 weeks, these parents know that their children are about to head into a lonely and physically and emotionally exhausting time.

While we hear so much about how self-absorbed this generation is, we see in these young faces the price of sacrifice. They willingly chose to serve their country and its citizens, knowing that defending us against enemies, both foreign and domestic, is a weighty task.

If you have a recruit or cadet in your life, these four simple ways to support them can help them make it through these next 7 to 12 weeks, which for many of them is the most challenging time of their lives so far.

  1. Mail! Mail! Mail! Military recruits aren’t allowed to receive care packages, so limit your communication to mail. Keep envelopes plain; don’t add decorations or stickers on the outside. Be sure to date all the letters in case mail gets delayed. 
  2. Make it easy for them to write back. Include a label with your address on it so they don’t have to write it out. Create return address labels with their address on it. As you write letters, if you include questions, leave space for them to write the answers and simply mail that sheet back.
  3. Include updates from “home.” Send newspaper articles about their high school or hometown. Cartoons and jokes are also welcome!
  4. Encourage their faith. Pray for them by name. Print out Grace Moments devotions and include a personalized note. As you read your Bible, take notes on what you’re studying and share your insights. Send Bible passages as a comfort and reminder. (I’ll give you a few to start with, but look for more.) 

Psalm 31:14-16: “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.” 

Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 26:3,4: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.”

John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

All of Psalm 139

Don’t know any young men and women who are joining the military? You can also support military members and their children.

Linda Buxa is thankful to the experienced Marine mom who gave her some of these ideas—and gave her permission to share them with you.