Guest Post by Benjamin Schock
With 672,213 veterans calling Michigan home, veterans are becoming increasingly visible as parents within our communities. Parenting is one of life’s most challenging experiences, and being a parent who serves (or has served) in the armed forces makes the challenge even more complex than usual.
From the stress of active duty to missing important milestones in a child’s life due to deployment, it can be difficult to balance service expectations with parenting practices. Service changes everyone, and this is especially noticeable within one’s own home, amongst family and loved ones, who continue to grow and change whether someone is present or not.
While each person’s own service experience is unique, certain principles—like the US Army’s core LDRSHIP values—are a part of service carried on by everyone who serves. These values can help provide a veteran and their family the opportunity to learn how to deal with life’s unexpected twists and turns, and passing LDRSHIP values onto children can help create a healthy, productive family environment.
How can LDRSHIP values be applied to parenting as a veteran?
L – Loyalty: Teaching children about the importance of being loyal to one’s family can help them know that they are loved and supported. It can also help children learn how to trust one another in work or play, and how to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships with their friends and family as well.
D – Duty: Duty is doing what needs to be done, whether or not it is explicitly said. By learning duty, children can learn how to give their all in everything—school, sports, hobbies—and learn to be responsible for their actions so that they can always look back on their work and be proud of it.
R – Respect: By teaching respect, children learn that all people deserve to be treated as fellow human beings. This value proves useful when a child might be faced with a challenging relationship, and helps them learn that strength comes when we are able to work together as one.
S – Selfless Service: Demonstrating selfless service can help your children learn how to discern what the right course of action is, even when it might be challenging. In doing so, children become more compassionate, practice self-discipline, and learn to work together to create positive change.
H – Honor: By aligning their moral compasses, children learn what is right and how to stand for it with honor. They learn to be proud—but not prideful—of themselves, their families, and their loved ones. This value can help children learn to respect those who give them the tools for success and stand up to injustice.
I – Integrity: Like honor, integrity is about learning what is right and wrong. By demonstrating how to act with integrity regardless of personal cost, a child will be more inclined to do the same as well. This can help a child learn how to stand up for themselves, and act with wisdom when faced with potential negativity.
P – Personal Courage: Personal courage is putting aside fear to carry out what is necessary. It is the physical and moral combination of all of the other LDRSHIP values to show that a veteran parent is a loyal, dutiful, and respectful person who does not hesitate to practice selfless service with honor and integrity. By teaching personal courage to a child, a parent is helping them learn how to be good leaders—and how to forge their own destiny.
Combining the values of LDRSHIP with action, parenting as a veteran can be a rewarding and unique teaching opportunity. By teaching children to give their all for what is right, veterans continue to inspire future generations with their history of service, their dedication to what is right, and the impact on our lives.
A comprehensive list of resources for veterans in eastern Michigan exists for services such as depression counseling, addiction support, career advising, and financial assistance for both veterans and their families. We encourage those who currently serve (or have served) to explore these resources as a way of showing our thanks and gratitude for their time, their service, and their dedication to our country.
About the Author
Benjamin Schock is a skilled, experienced elder law attorney who successfully assists seniors in passing their hard earned assets on to their loved ones while allowing them to receive additional benefits that help them offset the cost of long term care. His practice areas include: Medicaid planning, Nursing home planning, estate planning, special needs planning, probate, veterans benefits and trust or estate administration. In 2013 he co-founded his own law firm, Schock Solaiman Ramdayal, PLLC.
*Photos courtesy of SSR Law Firm