Why This Military Spouse is Thankful For Her Civilian Friends
By Julie Provost
I collaborated with Starbucks to share my story on bridging the civilian-military divide. Since 2013, Starbucks has hired more than 10,000 military spouses and veterans and is committed to hiring at least 15,000 more. On Aug. 21, Starbucks launched a national campaign encouraging the 99% of Americans who haven’t served to start a new conversation with veterans and military spouses. Learn more here »
During our past deployments, we received care packages from back home. Not only did my husband receive them, but my boys and I did too. Knowing that our civilian friends and family were thinking about us meant the world. From sending me books and candy to encouraging notes, knowing people back home understood that the deployment was challenging and wanted to help meant the world to me.
Sometimes we get stuck in our military world and forget how special our civilian friends are. No, they might not understand everything we are going through, but they can still be a source of support. I am so thankful for my civilian friends, and this is why:
They are good listeners
Finding a good friend to talk with is a plus, and your civilian friends can make great listeners. While they might not get what you have gone through or what a deployment is like, they can listen as you talk about your struggles. In return, you can listen to them and what they are dealing with. Everyone goes through frustrating times and having someone to talk to about them is a must, military or civilian.
They remind us what our service member is fighting for
When you look at your civilian friends, you see what your service member is fighting for. We can get caught up in our own military life and forget that the majority of the country is living their lives and that our service member is helping to protect that. America is a wonderful place and remembering what our spouses are protecting is important.
They can be steady in our ever changing world
There are plenty of changings in our lives as military spouses, but our civilian friends can be that steady person in our lives. Even if we move around, they probably will not and can be that person we see every time we come home for a visit. We can get into a good routine of texting them on a regular basis and know that they will always be there for us.
They can offer a different perspective
Civilian friends bring a fresh perspective that we could all use. Since they are not dealing with the military like we are, they see the world a little differently. They can offer different advice from our military friends. And when you are trying to figure out what to do about a certain situation, hearing from different perspectives is important.
They can learn about the military through us
You might be the only military spouse that your civilian friend truly knows. Your family might be the only military family they interact with. Through your life, they can learn about what it means to be married to a service member, what life in the military is like, and how Americans can best help the military. Having civilian friends bridges the divide between the 1% that serve and the 99% that do not.
Today Americans know fewer veterans than any other generation. Because of this, there are a lot of misconceptions about military life. Years ago, most people knew those who had served; these days things are a bit different.
At Starbucks, veterans, military spouses, and civilians work together side by side. Since 2013, they have hired over 10,000 veterans and military spouses, and they are committed to hiring 15,000 more. The goal is to be the leading corporate advocate and voice for transitioning veterans, military spouses, and military families.
Through partnerships with like-minded companies such as Team Red, White, and Blue, Team Rubicon, and the Mission Continues, Starbucks strives to bridge the divide between the 1% of Americans who have served in the US military and the 99% who have not.
There are 32 (and counting) Starbucks Military Family Stores. These stores are where the Veteran community can work, unwind and connect. The stores host Military Mondays where local Veteran service organizations provide transition guidance and information.
The Starbucks Armed Forces Network (AFN) on Facebook is open to all partners and their families. Their mission is to help Veterans transition to Civilian employment and give all partners the opportunity to strengthen connections while supporting a culture that embraces our military partners and their families.
Starbucks is doing amazing things for our Veteran, Military Spouse, and Civilian communities!