I wasn't actually sure what to expect as I made my way through the maze that is the Pentagon, on my way to the Family Readiness Council meeting. What I do know is that for this average MilSpouse, it wasn't anything I could have possibly expected it to be. A brief run down of what the Council is, actually makes me want to laugh because that ended up being a topic of discussion as the Council was coming to a close; and considering the fact that the Council until recently recently hadn't made a great showing of themselves, I'm not alltogether sure that they are completely clear on what they are, or what people view them to be (or should be). The goals seemed simple, standardize programs across the branches and make sure those programs are doing what they say they are going to do. With the growing number of Joint Service Bases, especially here in the DC area, this is important. An Air Force spouse, shows up at an Army Base she should know what's going to be there to help her and not have to worry about what programs there will be and how to get them.
me and fellow advocate Jeremy Hilton
That's about the time they lost me. Maybe I just don't think in scientific terms, I didn't do well in my research methods class in college. I'm too busy thinking about what I need right now to get the job done. All I kept hearing was "reseaching the research methods" and "evaluating the evaluation process." Really? Evaluating the evaluation process? At one point the sounds of dirision from military spouses around me could be heard, and our counterparts on the council weren't so silent about what they thought. Clearly there is a disconnect somewhere....maybe many somewheres. It is unclear what the duties of the council is, it is unclear to your "average MilSpouse", which is what I consider myself to be, what they are doing to help me. I'm not sure that everyone on the council has a clear understanding of what is being done either. The light at the end of the tunnel for me was the representative from the Exceptional Military Family Members group. While Dr. Tyner probably had the least ammount of time to talk, that probably worked in his favor. He was able to quickly and effectively share the goals of revamping the EFMP and what has been done, and is still being done to make it better. Maybe this is where my issue really was. When so many military families are in a constant state of movement, change and adapting, and all you see is long, drawn out conversations evaluating the evaluation process it isn't any wonder you start to tune things out, and perhaps lose hope. I know that's what I was feeling.
When it comes to making lives for military families easier, all I want to hear is how quicky we can get it done, and frankly patience isn't something that I've reserved for situations like this. But, like I said, I'm not good at all that science type stuff.
What are your thoughts?