short stories

Change makes us Stronger

      When I was growing up, or at least until I became a sophomore in high school,  I was always the new kid in class. My dad moved us back and forth from Missouri to Arizona multiple times.

       My dad worked for the Railroad and the copper mines as a mechanic in Arizona and when the layoffs or strikes came, boom, we would be headed back to Missouri, where both my mom and dad grew up. He would open up his own auto shop or go to work for another shop (usually a diesel shop) until the strike or layoffs were over. And just like that, back to Arizona we would go.

Mechanic works under car

       Now, truth be known, it wasn’t exactly like that, but very close. Yes, we moved a lot back and forth between these two states, but sometimes it was just to different parts of Arizona or just to different parts of Missouri. This situation would very often cause me to be the new kid in school, sometimes twice in the same year!

      Growing up like this was hard on me, but as I have seen through my life, it was actually a very good thing to grow up that way. Sure it was hard leaving friends that were just made and trying to make friends over and over again, but I  learned that I can, did and do adapt better to circumstances that others have a hard time with even today. I guess the hardest part was figuring out who the new bully would be that I would eventually end up fighting. Of course, I lost most of the time, but I was granted great respect for always standing up for myself and sometimes others as well.

       I consider myself a ‘Missourian’ and yet for the past twenty plus years, I have lived in Arizona after my dad passed away. The thing I’m trying to spit out is, we become part of our society, and those that have lived in multiple societies are better off in a lot of ways. For one, I could be uprooted and placed in a different location tomorrow and within a month, I would be able to fit in.

      I was able to prove this when I went into the Navy. Most of the recruits beside me had a real hard time adjusting, but me, heck it was just another day.  Sure, I missed my family, but I was able to fit into my circumstance very quickly. And the bully? Well, that was my company commander and I decided not to fight him.

Child throwing a fit

       I sometimes feel for the military kids because I know it’s hard on them. Let me tell you moms and dads something about that. If you explain why your family has to move so often, the kids will be stronger for it. If you just tell them, “just deal with it”, then you will have a very troubled teen on your hands. Be honest with your children about it, and they may be mad now but understand later and become well-rounded adults.

      For all other parents that have a choice to move or not move for a job or other circumstance, make sure you make the decision, Not your kids. Too many times the decision is made more by the children than their parents these days and that is wrong. You are responsible to do the best for your family and let your children change things up with their kids if they want when they become parents. (This is classic old school thinking).

Mother sits with her children that are playing

      Before anybody yells at me for that last paragraph, I tell this from experience. I made this mistake!  I made sure to keep my kids with their friends and I decided to stick it out and not take them to a better life and now my children are paying the price, let alone my wife and I are still stuck where we really don’t want to be. Don’t get me wrong,, this is a wonderful area, just not what we want. One of my sons is in the Navy now and instead of adapting like I did, he is one of those having a hard time, and it’s my fault.

U-Haul building

      If I had moved us years ago when I had the chance,  I believe my whole family would be better off today. Instead, I let the children decide. So don’t be afraid to move if you believe it is better for your family.  I’m not saying to be like we were when I grew up, I do believe that was excessive, but I lived through it and would willingly do it all over again.  There’s a great big world out there, don’t be afraid of change.  Change can make you stronger. Your kids will adapt and be just fine. Take care out there.