The military is considered as an organisation as well as a social group. The military is a unit of highly specialised service professionals with shared interest. This is a distinct group which in offering their services they require survival in combat and vocation (Siebold, 2001). Their objectives and values are more narrowly defined than those of the civil society. Military life involves interactions within the military and those with the civil society and governmental agencies. There has been a varied opinion as to whether the military so an institution or simply an occupation. The military as an institution retains policies relating to patriotism and shared values and traditions. As a profession the military is geared to economics and business. There is differentiation of duties within the military and ranks that allocate some individual more power. Some young People look at the military as an excellent way to go to colleges without accumulating massive loans and being accorded several other benefits (Siebold, 2001).
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The military uses strict procedures during the recruitment of new individuals for the professional. The recruitment aims at ensuring that the integrity of the profession is maintained. The military recruitment process is multicultural and in most cases ensures that all groups in the country are considered (Siebold, 2001). The recruitment involves training of the recruits on new physical and professional skills. The military is a high disciplined social group hence the need for professional skills such as general etiquette. There is also need for social and communal training because it requires the regulation of behaviour both within and out of task.
Being an army is an international job where one gets to travel and experience the different cultures in different regions especially during peace keeping missions. Most of the time in the military camps is dedicated to training but there is always enough space for the family. One usually has enough time to socialise with the civil world. These are opportunities for broadening ones perspective beyond that of the military. The military work as a team which ensures that one gets the space that he/she needs. It is challenging for one to make a leap from living a normal civilian life to a military one. An army’s daily life is very challenging and events keep on changing every time. This means that activities carried out are also very dynamic however there is enough time to unwind. In the military camp the basic needs such as food clothing and shelter are well taken care of in the camp.
The religion and culture of the army may differ from one country to the other depending on the dominant religion. However, most countries recruit their officers from different backgrounds and across different communities. There is no discrimination against the other army members with regard to race or creed. Therefore the army is a multicultural and multi-religious organisation (Britt, Alder & Carl, 2001). Different worship facilities such as the church and mosque are provided within the army base camps. This is to cater for the diversified religions within the camp. There is need for adequate training in order for members to learn how to coexist peacefully with others from different community.
The military life is greatly influenced by politics. The government and the military share a cordial relationship. This is because the state is protected by the military from external threats and between warring internal groups. The military on the other hand receives resources from the state. This includes man power, funds and Raw materials (Britt, Alder & Carl, 2001). Policies made in the political scene could as well determine the military calendar especially when it comes to peacekeeping and general operations. The individual army members do not have any political affiliations however the activities they carry out are influenced by the political scene
Women in the military were seen as supporting staff but this changed with time after promoting gender equality within the military. Since the American Revolution, women participating in the military in positions such as that of a laundress, nurse, seamstress, cook or any other job (Siebold, 2001). The army today recognises women as important as men whereas in the past they were viewed as supporting staff. With advanced technology the number of women who have been enrolled to the military as increased greatly. The role of women in the family cannot be underestimated and this includes the passing of cultural values to the children. This is usually the case within civilian families however female army find it difficult to spend ample times with their children especially in case of deployment. The advancement in technology has made it possible for women to be assimilated into service which has basically led to equality because previously women were only involved as military nurses (Siebold, 2001).
Where one of the spouses is a member of the army, effects relating to stress on the dependants may emerge. Dependants here may include one of the spouses, children and sometimes members of the extended family. The remaining partner may experience emotional stress in case where the other is deployed during a military operation (Siebold, 2001). This could have a profound effect on the health of the other spouse. However, after several deployments research conducted has shown the other spouse may learn how to cope with the stress.
The children may be forced to take on more important responsibilities such as cooking and performing other hold chores if the mother is out of military service. It is even more pronounced when both parents are away on military deployment. In this case the children are forced to take on adult roles such as managing and running the house. Despite the ability of families to cope with the inconvenience of deployment for both of the families it may be prove difficult during and after the deployment of the military personnel.
It has also been difficult for young military families to cope with emerging stress and responsibilities as well as maturity issues. Life inexperience and staying away from home may have a compounded effect on these young families. Unlike the civilian families who benefit from emotional support from friends and families, their military counterparts do not. It is also difficult for military families to fully settle because they keep on shifting between camps (Britt, Alder & Carl, 2001). For young families this could easily result in stress and other complexities. Military families need to come up with special plans to cater for these demands. Most countries now offer basic counselling for such couples. Army deployment may occur at any time. Planning in advance will enable the families avoid the last minute planning. The families usually have an option to live with the parent s at the deployment base making it difficult to cope with the ever changing rules and regulations. Those families that opt to live off base often incur an extra expense and is quite inconveniencing.
Military life may induce stress especially when one is switching from living a civilian life. Serbold explains that there are seven stages involved in the way that married people respond to stress before and after deployment. These stages are
Initial shock and protest
According to Debora and Lariberte this brief period lasts for approximately two weeks. Here the members of the family are shocked by the deployment news and immediately protest about the same. During this period emotions run high. In the past the military families were given an initial one month deployment notice however this has gradually changed and depending on the circumstances they nay get a one month deployment notice. This may even increase the period of stress anticipation much increased. Recent research has suggested that a brief period of approx 3 to 5 months may be okay.
Disengagement and alienation
Military families enter this stage a few days prior to departure of the family member. This may result in a variety of effects depending on the period of deployment (Martin, Linette & Leora, 2000). This usually results to distancing between family members because of uncertainties about what may happen during the deployment period. A Lot of complications may arise during this period. Sometimes arguments or confessions before this deployment may cause emotional stress.
This period occurs soon after the family member has been deported .It is characterised by a feeling of loneliness and sadness. In some cases clinical depression may occur along with eating and sleeping disorders such as insomnia and lack of appetite (Martin, Linette & Leora, 2000). Getting the family to normal is a daunting task due to depression and stress. The level of emotional disorganization may be reduced by allowing the family to communicate with the army member soon after deployment. This is not always done immediately but as soon as the military allows. This allows the family to ease the stress and enable stabilization.
Recovery and stabilization
Usually after six weeks of deployment the family usually come to terms the fact that the member was deployed (Martin, Linette & Leora, 2000). This involves getting accustomed to the situation of a missing family member. This period could last longer depending on how the deployment period proceeds. In cases where there is bad news regarding a deployed group involved families usually panic and develop clinical stress. One may solve this by seeking social support group to solve and cope with stressful issues.
After one has retired from the army there is need to go through training on how to cope and switch to civilian life. Important to note, is that most of the skills learned in the military can be transferred into the normal civilian life. Career guidance is conducted by professional counsellors both in the field and camp. Some countries such as England provide soldiers with resettlement training and a resettlement grant that depends on the number of years one has served in the military.
Military life is challenging and interesting. Nothing is easy at the military however through adequate training military life becomes fulfilling and interesting. In fact switching back to civilian life after retirement may be a bigger challenge. The military has provided training to military officers who go on retirement. These officers are trained on how to apply their military skills even after resuming to civilian life. Military life may involve providing services to the civilians during community service. Through this, one gets to learn the importance of military especially in times of calamities.
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