What is the purpose of your book “Closing the Gap: Understanding Your Service(wo)man?
The book’s title is “Closing The Gap: Understanding Your Serviceman” (woman). Its principal purpose is to reconnect military families with their non-military friends and family members. It is meant to help civilians learn more about the life within the military to better understand their own service member.
Fact is that there currently is a big divide between those who protect our freedoms and those who are being protected.
The book is meant to be part of a much bigger plan or picture: While I obviously do not have any high-profile impact on any decision makers, I do have access to everyday citizens. I believe that the key approach in closing this gap should be to utilize and strengthen the connections that ALREADY exist between the military and civilian worlds: the connections between military families and their OWN extended non-military families and non-military friends; which, in turn, might extend to a better understanding within the entire population.
Are there really differences between Military Families and Civilian Families?
I have seen and read through a L-O-T of forums that were trying to answer this very question. People get really passionate when it comes to defining themselves.
I personally believe that we, as military families, ARE different from non-military families, whether this difference is acknowledged or not. Different in many aspects, but mainly in the burdens we carry and the sacrifices we make as an entity, and we are simply different in the way we live.
Why is it important that others know/understand military families?
A very good question. You know, we love our own non-military friends and extended families. And BECAUSE we love them, we want them to be part of our lives. So it’s only understandable and natural that we also want them to UNDERSTAND our way of life.
BECAUSE the military is such a relatively small body right now, the more or less only remaining substantial connection that currently exists between the military and the rest of the American society is the one found between military members and their civilian families and friends. And that’s why we have to nourish this connection. And I believe we can do this best by helping them to learn more about us.
As for understanding from outside our own circles of friends and families, I believe knowing more about military families is important in that people only seem to support what they believe in and what they understand.
People need to understand the stresses military life imposes on the entire military family, not because we want pity, but because we want to instill a sense of shared sacrifice and share the emotional price we have to pay during difficult years.
It is all too easy to ask others to make certain sacrifices known only to military families, if the consequences of such are not understood. Adequate support needs to be provided, veteran benefits protected, military pay maintained, and retirement benefits upheld. All this is only possible with the public’s understanding.
So, understanding is especially important in times like this, where budget cuts need to be decided upon and implemented. Without the American citizens’ understanding of what their military is doing and sacrificing, it is much easier for them to support military budget cuts.
It is for those reasons that Americans’ support and understanding are more important than ever before. The level of understanding won’t ever truly be complete, of course. But, in my mind, even a tiny trace of understanding, a hint (if you will), is worth the effort (to try to promote understanding).
Why do you think there is a gap between military and civilian worlds?
Well, let’s see. As I wrote in my book, a smaller share of Americans currently serve in the Armed Forces than at any other given point in time since the Second World War. And I believe that this is the reason for this growing gap between people in uniform and the civilian population. Back in the day, most everyone in America had similar experiences regarding war, since most families had at least one individual within the Armed Forces due to draft laws and regulations. They all knew what it felt like to have someone out there risking their life for their country. War used to be something everyone was forced to live and endure. Everyone understood what it meant, how horrible it was, and why it should be avoided at all costs. But this is no longer the case.
Nowadays, most people outside a military installation have little understanding of what it means to send a loved one off to war. They don’t know what impact multiple deployments can have on service members, their spouses, and their children. Most of these people are not aware of this part of the population that serves their country. And the result is a military far less connected to the rest of society when compared to previous decades.
We currently live in a world where invisible wounds are considered imaginary, where separation from one’s better half is deemed normal and therefore not worthy of any sympathy. We live in a world, where record-high service member suicides are barely of anyone’s concern outside the military. And this current perception and lack of awareness needs to be changed.
Why this ambiguous title? Why not “Closing The Gap: Understanding Your SOLDIER,” for example?
Well, I have to admit that substituting the word “Serviceman” with “Soldier” would have made for a catchier title. But if I’d used the term “Soldier,” some Military Families might have been discouraged from reading this book, simply because they would have thought it only covered the Army and wouldn’t apply to THEIR branch, since the term “Soldier” is technically used to describe a service member within the Army only. But I wanted this book to appeal and apply to all families and friends of our service members out there, no matter what branch within our military. So that’s why I chose the more generic term “Serviceman.”
For the first time, facts and common misconceptions about the Military Lifestyle have been accessibly presented and composed in a manner that specifically appeals to non-military friends and family members. This book is meant to apply to all families and friends of our service(wo)men of every branch within the military. It was written in order to make a positive difference by giving people within the civilian world the information they need to understand the experiences of and reconnect with those that protect their freedoms and rights. Stay close to your service members, for they truly need you.
Reviewed by “Circle of Moms” Top Military Bloggers:
“This resource is perfect for EVERYONE with ANY connection to the military community, and should be on everyone’s shelf!” – Judy Davis – TheDirectionDiva.com
“[This] book is absolutely brilliant!” – Cat Lang – NutsInANutshell.blogspot.com
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Genre – Military Family
Rating – G
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