Month of the military child: The Greiners' insight Published April 29, 2013 By Senior Airman Dillon Davis 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Military children face challenges every day while adapting to a constantly-changing environment. April is the month of the military child. To help explain the roles that children play in a military family, Col. Michael Greiner, 97th Mission Support Group commander, and his family, offered to give insight into how they have overcome obstacles and made sacrifices to help serve the Air Force as a family. As a military member, Greiner has moved between multiple bases, deployed to multiple locations and worked long hours as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Although he has limited time to spend with his wife and six children, he makes every minute with them count. "One of the biggest challenges of a military parent is offering stability to their children in an environment that is constantly moving and changing," said Greiner. The Greiner family has overcome various challenges while serving in the Air Force and they always try to take away valuable lessons. "I believe that one of the benefits my children have learned while growing up in a military household is that they are easily able to adapt to changes and they are great travelers," said Greiner. The military lifestyle requires families to constantly move from base to base, which can create stress and make it hard to keep up with day-to-day activities. "When we arrive at a new station, we hit the library, chapel and youth center so we can know what is going on and get involved in the summer reading program," said Greiner. "We are able to hit the ground running and we make it a home really quick," said Greiner's wife Mindy. "And we only get better every move." It can be hard to keep up after moving three consecutive summers, but the Greiner children have learned to adapt to the lifestyle with a positive attitude. "You get used to moving around and you learn to settle in and meet new people at each new base," said Greiner's oldest son Andrew. "It is easier to meet new people when you go out and get involved in activities in the area." "It is hard to move away from friends, but video chatting has been a great tool for our children to keep in contact with friends," said Mindy. When the service member of a family deploys, their children may not understand why they are gone, but there are things that the family can do to help relieve some of the stress. "One of the neat traditions that we have is every time Dad leaves for deployment we make a jellybean jar to countdown the days until he comes home so the kids know when he will be back," said Mindy. There are plenty of challenges as a military family, but there are some very unique opportunities to the lifestyle as well. "Some of my favorite times growing up were the road trips we would take while moving to a new base." said Greiner's oldest daughter Katie. "We would get to visit friends and see and do things that a lot of people may never get to do." "I like living on base because the security forces keep us safe," said Greiner's son Matthew. "Being a military kid, you have opportunities to see a lot of things that most others may not, such as aircraft, the control tower or law enforcement equipment," said Mindy. "My favorite field trip was security forces because they let me see all their guns and I got to see their military dogs," said Greiner's son Christian. The ages of the Greiner children range from two years old to 17 years old and they are able to offer a variety of advice from personal experiences. "I would say to new military parents, it is going to be difficult, but the benefits are what you make of it," said Andrew. "We have learned life-long skills that we will teach to others," he said. For military families who have questions or concerns about various family topics, contact your local Airman and Family Readiness Center. "Service to the country is a family affair. It is not just the person who wears the uniform, it is the whole family," said Greiner. "Families are the ones who are left taking care of things at home when the service member deploys. We ask a lot of our military families and we need to try to give back to them as much as possible."