As we encourage you to vote for our 2013 Military Fatherhood Award™ finalists through May 12th, we're sharing tips inspired by the finalists that you can us with your family, even if you aren't in the military.
This week, we hightlight Ssgt Charlie Linville.
Staff Sergeant Charlie Linville, U.S. Marine Corps
- Currently serving at Balboa Naval Medical Center Wounded Warrior Battalion in San Diego, CA
- Father of two daughters, ages 5 and 2
Tip 1) Connect with Your Kids Through Challenges.
Ssgt Linville sustained injuries in Afghanistan and had his right leg amputated, yet that hasn't stopped him from playing with his daughters, taking them to fun places, and being involved in their extracurricular activities. His experience is not something most dads have to deal with, but you have other obstacles that can make it challenging to interact with your children. Whether those challenges are physical, geographical, or related to busy schedules, make an intentional choice to put your kids first and invest time with them, even if other factors make that difficult.
Tip 2) Communication is Vital.
While deployed, Ssgt Linville used modern technology such as Skype to stay connected with his daughters, but he also mailed them hand-written letters and brought them home gifts from his deployment. You can do the same thing while business traveling. Those real indications of your love will mean everything to your kids!
Tip 3) Model persistence and Hard Work.
Despite his injuries and daily pain, Ssgt Linville chooses to smile and spend time with his daughters doing their favorite activities. Linville understands the importance of teaching his daughters that they can accomplish anything in life. Your example of handling obstacles and difficulties will leave an impression on your kids and will prepare them to take on challenges with a good attitude.
Tip 4) Serve Your Community.
Ssgt Linville spends time talking with kids who are struggling with their dads' deployment and invests in other wounder warriors and their families, even through something as simple as babysitting their children. As a dad, your unique experiences will equip you to encourage and help other kids, dads, and families. Don't discount the impact of inviting another child to join your family for an activity or offering childcare for a couple who needs a night out.
Tip 5) Value Every Moment.
Because of Ssgt Linville's combat experiences and injuries, he knows that life is short and he makes sure to hug his daughters just a little longer every day. Even if your family never faces a life-threatening situation like military combat, your kids will grow up all too fast. Fathering is a challenging journey, but make the most of the time you have right now and enjoy every moment. Get those hugs in early and often!