A very kind commenter at C’mon Folks, Know Your Benefits made the case that I need to be a little more patient with people who have difficulty learning about the military and how it works, particularly with regard to benefits. He or she is right, I do get impatient. I want to make clear, however, that I am not impatient with people who are genuinely trying to learn and are finding it difficult. What makes me mad is people who have an attitude of entitlement, and seem to think that the military should somehow magically give them individual guidance for each and every aspect of their life. (They do, through Military One Source and your installation’s family readiness center, but that is off the topic of this post.)
As commenter MMM pointed out, most of us don’t get a welcome packet when we marry into the military. We have to learn as we go, and there are certainly some ways to make the process easier. Could you please share in the comments the ways that you have learned about the military. I’d love to put together a “reader’s list” of suggestions to go with the list I put in the last post.
Here’s my entry, much of which is also in the comment for the other post:
When I married, the internet was not what it is today. After purchasing a few Navy Times newspapers at the commissary, I got a subscription. We also received the USAA Magazine, newsletters with our Navy Federal Credit Union statements, and information from the Navy Mutual Aid Society.
Now that we have the internet, I use it almost exclusively, except for attending classes and events held at nearby military installations. The internet is available to everyone. Heck, it was my retired military grandfather who recommended that I sign up for Military.com’s newsletters! Whenever I see an article that references a particular website or organization, I check it out. I sign up for newsletters. I read military blogs, and if I see a comment that I like, I click through to see if the comment’s author has a website. I seek out military spouse forums, and I participate. And I do A LOT of google searches.
I did fail to mention one thing: spouses clubs. I personally think it is a shame that many commands and installations are moving away from spouses clubs as they embrace family readiness groups (FRGs.) FRGs are great , but many people don’t like them, and they have a very specific purpose. A good spouses club can be an amazing tool for helping spouses adjust to military life, new bases, and learn things that they need to know. As a new bride, I found the information provided by my husband’s command’s wives club to be so helpful. (Yes, I’m that old, it was a wives club.) There, I learned everything from how to navigate Tricare to how to behave at certain events. If your command or base has a wives club, join! You will probably meet some nice people and find fantastic resources.
Readers, please comment to share how you have learned about the military, and what resources have been the most helpful to you. I know that others will appreciate your experience and wisdom.