Be neighborly to military families

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When the announcement was made that Michelle Obama was going to be on David Letterman’s Late Night show, many thought surely the first lady of the United States had better things to do and wondered why she would be on the show.

She wasn’t on the show long, before they got an answer. She was there to talk about her passion for getting help for military families.

Michelle Obama, wife of the president of the United States, and Jill Biden, wife of the vice president of the United States, are working hard to help our military families.

Recently, these two ladies honored Our Family for Families First Foundation at a reception at the White House. This foundation was recognized as people’s choice winner of Joining Forces Community Challenge that features “citizens and organizations with a demonstrated, genuine and deep desire to be of service to military families.”

This foundation has an interest in higher education for children and spouses of military on active duty, and provides scholarships and other aid.

Not everyone can offer a scholarship to a child or make a large donation.

Mrs. Obama was asked what these people could do and she replied, “Cut their grass or anything else that you can do to make their life better.”

The things you can do for a military family are the same things that you can do for any family. In the South, we call it “being neighborly” and it is the little, friendly things that mean so much.

One percent of our population is our military who are involved in protecting the other 99 percent. We need to show this one percent our appreciation.

When a man or woman is deployed, the remaining family must face the same problems as they had before, except now one person is missing.

The person who has left may be the person who usually cuts the grass, so that duty now falls to another member of the family. Even the smallest effort on your part could mean a great deal to a military family living without one of their family members.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a military family who would be grateful for a little help or a little consideration. Cutting the grass would be appreciated by almost anyone, especially those who are older or on a limited budget.

Do you have — or could you get — tickets to a baseball game, basketball game, soccer, whatever, and say to the family, “I have extra tickets to (blank), can you use them?”

Learn to do your good deeds with graciousness.  It is very important that you make the recipient feel thankful rather than uneasy about accepting a gift.

The neighbor who brings a gift of produce in today’s economy and says, “I had to buy it by the bushel in order to get a good price and I cannot use all of this,” makes the one receiving the gift feel good, not beholding.

Children of military families may have the hardest time. Moving from place to place is hard on children who have no time to form lasting friendships. Mrs. Obama told of one child who had been in 11 schools in 12 years.

Often churches will have listings of members who are serving in the Armed Forces, but also search out those who are  not listed by a church.

Transportation can be a big problem with gas prices so high. Trips to the market, church, school, or to athletic events may give you an opportunity to share a ride.

Think of all the problems your family faces and then add to that the strain of losing one member. Be neighborly — to all of your neighbors including the military families.

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at opelikaobserver@att.net This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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