Chaplain’s thoughts … December 4, 2015

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A letter to parents of Airmen

Through the years I, as a chaplain, have received numerous phone calls from parents who were concerned about their sons or daughters. Perhaps a grandparent had died, or a relationship had ended or perhaps they sensed that their child was beginning to make bad decisions.

Whatever the reason, they felt the need to contact the one office they felt would hear them and would endeavor to “discreetly” care for their child. Somehow they needed the assurance that their child was seen, not as a number or a report, but as a person.

Let’s be honest. Joining the Air Force is a transformational experience for both the young patriot and the parents. Truth is, being a parent of a service member is not easy. The parent-child relationship is forever changed. The child has absolutely and unequivocally left the nest, and the parents must adjust to a new normal.

There are times when parents see their children hurting and long to hold them and assure them that everything will be okay. That’s tough because now their child is an Airman – strong, determined, independent … and just six months removed from having to be reminded to take out the trash or pick up their dirty clothes.

And so, occasionally parents of young Airmen grow anxious. It’s natural, it’s normal; it’s a lovely thing indeed because it springs from a lifetime of love and nurture.

Mom and dad, the truth is supervisors, shirts and commanders will never love your child as you do. But let me assure you that we, as an Air Force family, will do all we can to help your child succeed in their military career. They will not always call home with joyful news of their military experience; but they will have a fair shake at making it in this service that calls them to integrity first, service before self and excellence in all they do.

Thank you for entrusting us with your children. We will do our best to help them succeed.

Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

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