Although economists have been predicting a recession for years now, no one could have seen what was actually in the cards for 2020. Starting in December 2019 for China, the now-worldwide COVID-19 outbreak has killed thousands, brought the global economy to its knees, and impacted pretty much everyone who’s not part of some secret hidden civilization.
Even those who remain untouched by job loss or illness probably know someone who’s been affected. And as the number of cases and deaths rapidly increases in the U.S., so does the level of panic.
But military families — who are just as threatened by the pandemic as anyone else — have a leg up on civilians. Their lives are pretty regularly shaken up by things like deployment and PCS orders. What’s more, service members are often specifically trained for earth-shattering emergencies, and know how to remain calm in the midst of them.
Here’s how the military prepares its members for a pandemic.
The Warrior Mindset
“Given enough time, any man may master the physical. With enough knowledge, any man may become wise. It is the true warrior who can master both… and surpass the result.” – Tien T’ai
The warrior mindset is a seed that’s planted in basic training. And while a warrior must possess physical strength and ability, it’s more about the mental fortitude needed to overcome any challenge that’s in their way.
The elites that go on to become Rangers, SEALs, and other prestigious titles within the military are almost never the physically strongest people on the planet. Rather, they’re mentally and emotionally strong enough to push past their limits and refuse to quit, even when everything inside them is telling them to.
Even as the majority of service members aren’t Special Operations, they are all a part of a collective whole that has trained to instill this type of mindset. Determination; adaptation; decision making. They’re forced to acquire these traits in boot camp, and they’re forced to stick with them if they want to go anywhere in their military career.
The warrior mindset was built to serve in emergencies like this pandemic, so those who possess it can calmly work through chaos to yield effective results. These are the people who are on the frontlines healing the sick. Developing vaccines. Delivering supplies. They are the ones who will help save us all.
The Military Lifestyle
On a lighter note, one of the reasons that military families may be more equipped for the coronavirus pandemic is just the way that military life is set up.
For example, many military spouses have already experienced being hundreds or thousands of miles away from their families and friends. When you move to a new base, you do have the community there, but you don’t know anyone. And if you don’t have a job or support system in your area, it can start to feel a lot like quarantine.
Moreover, while extended family and friends are important, the military nuclear family always takes precedent. The average military family moves once every two to three years. So throughout a service member’s career, the family has learned to rely on each other in good times and bad. That makes a challenge like the novel coronavirus a little easier to brave.
Finally, the military prepares its service members and families for an emergency in one very direct way: by providing much-needed stability.
Service industry workers and gig economy workers are now finding themselves without income or even the opportunity to find a new job. And though Congress has approved extensions to unemployment insurance, the system is currently overwhelmed as millions of people try to access it at once. But defense industry workers and military service members don’t have to worry about their livelihoods.
The great part about being under contract by the Department of Defense is that, barring any contract breaches on your part, you will have that job for as long as the contract period lasts. Military families can rest assured knowing that their paychecks are uncompromised in this global crisis.
The military also provides benefits such as a housing allowance and health insurance. So even if you’re a family living on a double income and the civilian spouse loses their job, the service member will still be able to house and provide medical insurance for the family.
We Will Get Through This
As a nation, the United States will get through the coronavirus pandemic. But in the short term, some of the families least affected by financial hardship or anxiety may just be military families.
Military families know what it means to go through tough times. Whether it’s moving across the country, dealing with deployments, or even mental or physical illness, they face a great many obstacles that have taught them the skills to move through this hardship with grace.
Some military families may be facing even harder times now — with service members being deployed to help during the crisis, or stuck in a foreign country impacted by the virus. But they will learn to adjust like the rest of the nation as we wait for this thing to run its course.
Prepared or not, we’re all going through this together. Stay home and stay safe, and try to find some measure of peace in this time of uncertainty.