Military children “need to say more ‘goodbyes’ than anyone else”

Article / April 16, 2019 / Project number: 19-0117

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By Shannon Morrow, Army Public Affairs

Oromocto, New Brunswick — The life of a soldier comes with pride, honour and many sacrifices – sacrifices that their families make, too.

The strength behind the uniform: military families

April, the Month of the Military Child, celebrates children growing up in military families.

Children of military members move from place to place, leaving behind schools, friends and commitments every few years. These children, celebrated for their strength and resilience, are the pride and joy of their families and are a huge part of what makes coming home so wonderful.

Deployed to the Ukraine, while home is in New Brunswick

Warrant Officer Samuel Roy of 4th Artillery Regiment (General Support) Royal Canadian Artillery is currently deployed on Operation UNIFIER in Ukraine.

WO Roy and his family live near 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown (5 CDSB Gagetown) in Gagetown, New Brunswick. WO Roy’s wife Marie-Claude Guillemette is a teacher currently pursuing her Master’s Degree.

The couple is raising their three sons, Nathan Roy (11 years old), Félix Roy (9 years old) and Mathis Roy (7 years old), who have never known a different way of life.

On the occasion of the Month of the Military Child, Marie-Claude Guillemette and her children shared their experiences growing up, moving with and living the life of a military family.

Interview with Marie-Claude Guillemette:

Q1: In what ways, both positive and negative, do you think growing up in a military family has affected your children?

Positive: They develop a resilience; it’s a huge quality to have and they will be more autonomous than other kids. On the negative side, they need to say more goodbyes than anybody else.

Q2: How do you think kids who grow up in a military family are different from those who do not?

They need to be strong but like I said, it can be positive in the way they are developing resilience. Often, we need to ask them to make sacrifices like adults. But, they become understanding and aware of real life.

They truly appreciate time spent with each member of the family. We ask them to be away from their family. For us, all the grandparents, uncles, aunts, are in different provinces. In some cases, we moved every few years.

Q3: How do you think your kids feel about the frequent moving?

Not always easy, but a new room and a special thing in the new house can change their mindset! In fact, they need to be reassured that everything will be fine; different, but fine.

Q4: How do they feel when their dad is deployed?

They are very understanding! We are so lucky! On one of the deployments, Félix was only three weeks old when Samuel was gone. When he came back, Félix was one year old.

Now, it is easier than before. We can talk with him regularly and we keep him posted about our reality.  We write him emails, text messages and add a lot of pictures to make sure he keeps track of our routine.

They are counting sleeps before the big arrival.

Q5: Do you think they will be involved in the military when they grow older?

I would say yes for one of them! Nathan wants to travel and asks constantly for more independence. I will definitely be watching to see what happens.

For Félix, we will see.

I’ll say absolutely not for Mathis. He’s a bit of a homebody and really cherishes his time with family.

No matter what, we will encourage them to follow what they want to do!

Q6: Is there anything else you would like to say about raising kids in a military family?

It is challenging, but so rewarding.

Interview with her children - Nathan, Félix and Mathis:

Q1: What do you think about your father’s job?

Nathan: He is so lucky to travel that much!

Félix: It’s interesting. He’s teaching, he’s meeting new people, he’s travelling the world and he’s doing sports during his job time.

Mathis: He is so courageous.

Q2: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Nathan: I want to be in the military or an architect.

Félix: I want to be a scientist.

Mathis: I want to own a doggy daycare.

Q3: Is there anything else you would like to say about being a military child?

Nathan: Sometimes it’s really hard when my dad is away, but I’m happy for him. We have good friends.

Félix: I’m proud to be a military kid.

Mathis: Me too, I’m proud! I’m feeling good and I’m feeling cool to be different from others.

Q4: If you could say anything to him right now, what would you say?

Nathan: I took your place on the sofa. I’m the new boss of the house!

Félix: You are so lucky. I’ve been waiting for you to see me playing baseball.

Mathis: I miss you.

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