Tag Archives: “Military Families Together We Serve”

Honor and Remembrance of Military Spouses and Families from WWII and Korean War…

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Vernon H. Sparks, BMC, US Navy c1943, USS Belle Grove LSD2… 1918-1998…

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Marcella C. Sparks passed away on January 1, 2016. She would have celebrated her 98th birthday on September 28, 2016.

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Military Spouses Now & Then… By Dana Bretz Click on this link for more…  Quote…from Military Spouses Advocacy Network…

“Twenty three years later (following WWI), we were preparing for yet another world war and we answered that all too familiar call. The call that your country needs you, and without hesitation spouses gave what their country demanded of them, even on the heels of The Great Depression when times were still tough. Spouses went to work in defense plants and volunteered for many war related organizations such as The Red Cross. Life on the home front was a crucial part of the war effort and had a significant influence on the outcome of this particular war. Spouses, in part, helped supply the fruits of victory. That is where we come from, remember that!”

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The photo above of my mother was taken during a visit with her in Reno, Nevada.  With each visit for so many years, I couldn’t help asking myself if this was the last time I would see her.  This year, Mom passed away on January 1st with loved ones at Regent Care Center in Reno, Nevada.

We owe so much to the military spouses and moms of all wars!  “Together we served!”  Without the courageous military spouses of “then and now,” we military kids, including my own boomer generation, would not be here at all.  War weary soldiers and sailors had the hopes and dreams of going home to resume their lives, which gave them the spiritual power and bravery to get through each day, no matter how horrific the circumstances of battle.  We remember and honor the ultimate sacrifice of countless numbers of warriors who didn’t make it home.  Many had children they never met.  It was then and now that the military spouse as a single mom, had to carry on and raise the children who would not have a father.  For those warriors who did come home, the war often came home with them.  It was then and now a double duty to care for a broken warrior as well as raise the children who came before and after the war was over…

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Regent Care Center, Reno, Nv

It is with love, privilege and honor to celebrate my mother’s birthday; and her service to America.  Military families serve(d) too!  It was a hard road for my parents and countless couples who came out of the Depression Era to fight for freedom during World War II.  The home front was critical to fighting and winning wars then and now…

Happy Birthday, Mom!  I know you are at peace in Heaven.  The memories of all our visits in recent years will remain special and healing…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2… Click the highlighted text for my author page…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Child Advocate

Prevent Domestic Violence in Life After War…Kids Become Collateral Damage…

 

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survivethriveptsd.com A work in progress, anticipated publish date September 2016.

 

Treatment Interventions for Veterans with PTSD  by Mike Willbur, M.S., LMHC and Susanne Ruiz Rodriguez, Esq, M.S.

“If there is violence and/or abuse in the home, recognize it for what it really is – violence and abuse. Violence and/or abuse are present in a place that is supposed to be a sanctuary. Does everyone under the roof where you live feel safe? Does your partner feel self-empowered? Is there mutual respect in the home? When you feel irritable, are you able to talk about it with your partner? These are just a few questions that should be asked and if not answered appropriately, then it’s time to seek help.”

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When loved ones return home following deployment in hard combat, the risk of domestic violence resulting from post-trauma stress is much higher without proactive treatment.  The stigma of mental health challenges takes a toll on the entire family, especially children, because those who suffer from the horrific memories of war are often in denial  for many reasons and refuse treatment.  I know this to be true as a post WWII child who carries the emotional baggage of domestic violence to this day. My research shows evidence of an epidemic of generational post-trauma stress in literally thousands of families who live with emotional pain and toxic family relationships from one generation to the next.  How can we break the cycle of abuse and emotional pain that seems to stick like bad genes in families who must learn to love all over again?

I so wish and pray that healing from post-traumatic stress (PTS) could be as simple and easy as treating a case of the measles or the flu, or even taking clear steps to avoid or cure more serious physical health challenges.  But in treating PTS,  it is clearly very complicated and often a life long process or journey of healing…

We know so much more and have a high level of awareness of post-traumatic stress circumstances in the 21st Century.  It is up to families to break the cycle of pain by seeking pre-deployment preparation and education as a first step.  Do not wait! Build a proactive plan as a family.  There are excellent resources at your fingertips just by doing a search with the words “post-trauma stress.”  My website includes archives of over 800 posts, articles and links, books to purchase and download to your ebook reader.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma Part 1&2…  Click the highlighted text to order books and other stuff…from Amazon…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

 

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Steve Sparks Amazon.com

Hiding our feelings from children have consequences…

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Child Observing Military Memorial Service of a Parent…

Hiding our feelings…from children… Encountering America by Jessica Grogan, Ph.D., is the author of Encountering America: Humanistic Psychology, Sixties Culture, and the Shaping of the Modern Self (January 2013, Harper Perennial). She’s also a Licenced Marriage and Family Therapist Associate in private practice in Austin, TX.

Jessica-Grogan

Grogan’s research covers a range of topics related to psychology, psychotherapy, and American culture. She has presented papers on humanistic psychology, American psychotherapy, psychedelics, Alcoholics Anonymous, the philosophy of psychological science, and the relationship of psychology to women’s liberation and civil rights for the American Studies Association, the American Historical Association, Cheiron International Association for the History of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the American Psychology Association.

Quote from Dr. Grogan’s bio…

“I work individually with adults and kids, particularly those dealing with relationship problems, anxiety, and periods of high stress. My specialization is in couple’s and family therapy, and I’m welcoming of high-conflict couples and families. As a therapist, I’m committed to developing a close, working relationship with clients, and I believe humor, openness, and directiveness,all serve this goal. My strength is in balancing assertiveness and directness with empathy and support.

I tend to view problems as occurring when we get stuck in some way, using ineffective solutions to problems, relying on outdated coping styles, and repeating patterns that make problems worse rather than better. Change is possible when we learn to disrupt these patterns, creating the possibility for more satisfying interactions and deeper connection.”

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As a trauma survivor and lay researcher, author, blogger, and child advocate; my work is very much on the discovery and needs assessment side of innovation, problem solving, and creative solutions.  I relate to Dr. Grogan’s research and work as a therapist very much, and appreciate the focus on humanistic or the “whole person” as a foundation for treatment of post-traumatic stress symptoms.

In the context of “hiding our feelings,” it was a huge relief to find out from my research and therapy that it is okay to be vulnerable and honest with family members, especially kids.  If there is a consistent family conversation and culture of openness at home, the risk of sudden outbursts of angry and potentially harmful escalations can be minimized or negated.  When an entire family suffers from post-traumatic stress, saying nothing about stressful feelings and anxiety was a demonstration of strength.  If you are a military child it is pure hell having a father or mother who suffers from PTSD.  Those who serve America in the armed forces are trained to be emotionally numb as a mandate for survival.  America is learning now that we have to start early with trauma informed coaching for military families and 1st responders.  This is very much an example of a humanistic approach or continuum of therapy designed to help trauma affected families achieve normalcy as smoothly and as quickly as possible.

My research and discovery as a lay person has enlightened me to the extent that healing is now possible in my later years.  I have to work each day to be mindful of triggers and therapy practices to keep a good balance.  Life is not without challenges at any age, but I feel a peace of mind at age 70.  There is joy and happiness each day.  I do much better with down time, living in the moment is so much healthier.  Living with mental health challenges is a work in progress for most.  With a high level of awareness and the access to humanistic therapy alternatives, life is as good as it gets these days.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page and to order books, etc.

 

 

 

Trauma Resiliency…Why Are Some People More Resilient to Trauma Than Others?

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Children suffer the most in a home struggling severely with PTSD!

Trauma Resiliency…  May 21, 2015 • By Sunda Friedman TeBockhorst, PhD, Posttraumatic Stress / Trauma Topic Expert Contributor…quote from this article…

Why is that?

The answer to this appears to be largely the same as the answer to so many other quandaries in the field of psychology: the unique combination of genetic constitution and set of life experiences for any given individual. It’s the old “nature vs. nurture” question, and, as is typically the case, the answer seems to be “yes, both influence outcome significantly.”

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Trauma resiliency is an area of research PTSD survivors can appreciate.  Most of us on the severe side of trauma exposure constantly wonder, with some shame and guilt to boot, why some move forward in life after trauma in pretty good shape in terms of emotional baggage.  I fall into the category of long exposure to traumatic experiences as a child and young adult, including living with an entire family suffering from post-trauma stress, especially my post WWII and Korean War father.  Without a strong dose of nurturing from parents and family members, it is near impossible to recover as a child or young adult.  We head into adult life with a heavy emotional load that must be reconciled eventually.  If not, we live a life of constant pain from the symptoms of post-trauma stress.  You see, parents and siblings suffering from PTSD do not have the capacity to nurture.  A toxic home culture is ruled by fear, isolation, denial, stigma, emotional numbness, and self serving behaviors.  Sound painful?  Yes, it is painful indeed.  Can’t we do more?  We must do better…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page and to order books, please!

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

Child Abuse Primes the Brain for the Future… Saving our kids from the baggage of post-trauma stress!

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Child Abuse and Maltreatment Affects Brain Development in Early Childhood…

Child Abuse Primes the Brain…, TIME

“Child maltreatment has been called the tobacco industry of mental health. Much the way smoking directly causes or triggers predispositions for physical disease, early abuse may contribute to virtually all types of mental illness.”

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My latest book project “I Worry About the Kids,” gives this topic significant attention in a workbook format to help parents, teachers, and mentors become far more aware and effective in working with the symptoms of child abuse.  My first edition of this book, “My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 2,” is published as a robust ebook on the Amazon KDP platform.  Stay tuned for more…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page, and to order books, etc.

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

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Saving your children from the emotional baggage of early childhood trauma…

Boomers Turn Age 70! We 46ers ain’t done yet!

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Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, First Boomer, “You only have the moment. You can’t live in the past, and you don’t know what the future is going to bring.”

Boomers Turn 70!  by Bill Newcott, AARP Your Life… Reference article and website, click highlighted text.

Excerpt from my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, published in 2011…Signalman Publishing, Orlando, Florida

A New Beginning!

Using words like summary for the end of this story seems off the mark. I have a hopeful outlook in writing this book after doing research and connecting the dots. Life can begin again at any stage in life, especially for those of us who are entering the golden years. Writing this story has given me energy, renewed confidence, and a much brighter look into the future. Finding peace of mind has been a huge benefit, but requires continued effort. I believe more now that when one reaches out for answers to big questions and becomes fully engaged in living in a proactive way, we find more peace of mind. My thinking has changed from thoughts of death and dying or old age to planning my next writing project, next adventure, and sharing more romance with Judy. It is never time to sit down and forget about it all. It is extremely healthy for the mind and body to be engaged, to discover, to learn, and to love. Living, learning and loving never ends until the day we actually leave this life for good and go on to the next life, assuming the faith that this is where we are headed.

“Retirement” means transitioning to new beginnings rather than stepping away from all the action. There is really more action in retirement if you are willing to take the leap of faith, and jump in and continue to make a difference in your life and the life of others. The more of my time spent giving to others feels like a gift. Continuing to share my life with soul-mate and wife Judy is comforting and exciting. Finding new friends and building new relationships is invigorating. Getting the most out of participating in the lives of friends and family, including watching my children grow along with the grandkids, is most gratifying. I can say life is as good as it can be as long as my feet stay firmly on the ground. Writing this book clearly represents a new beginning. I am very thankful for having the motivation to tackle this project and the many rewards it has and will produce in the future. I am ready for the next surprise and challenge life has in store for us!

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I didn’t know in 2011 how writing my first non-fiction memoir, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, would change my life.  It was at that moment in time that writing became a source of healing from childhood invisible wounds.   Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, First Boomer, “You only have the moment. You can’t live in the past, and you don’t know what the future is going to bring.”  These words really hit home for me at this time in my life as age 70 looms on July 6, 2016.  Wow!  This new decade for me was a scary beginning of the New Year until healthy change came into my life and our family.  When it is time for change, it is up to all of us to take action…we own it!  My major action was to clear away my agenda and all commitments that were no longer rewarding or fun.  It was my time and the opportunity to make a difference for myself and to focus on my family, especially my loving wife, Judy.  I set myself free to love more, explore and to innovate.  It is a new day in the Sparks home!  We are busy with new goals, planning, and excitement for the very special years ahead of us.  I feel blessed and thankful for good health and new energy at age 69.  “We 46ers ain’t done yet!”

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page and to order books, etc.

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

Honoring Military Spouses and Mothers of Modern Wars…Happy 97th to my Mom, WWII & Korean War…

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Marcella C. Sparks, Age 97, US Navy Spouse & Mother WWII & Korean War.  With son, Steve Sparks…

VHSparks

Vernon H. Sparks, BMC, US Navy c1943, USS Belle Grove LSD2

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Military Spouses Now & Then… By Dana Bretz Click on this link for more…  Quote…from Military Spouses Advocacy Network…

“Twenty three years later (following WWI), we were preparing for yet another world war and we answered that all too familiar call. The call that your country needs you, and without hesitation spouses gave what their country demanded of them, even on the heels of The Great Depression when times were still tough. Spouses went to work in defense plants and volunteered for many war related organizations such as The Red Cross. Life on the home front was a crucial part of the war effort and had a significant influence on the outcome of this particular war. Spouses, in part, helped supply the fruits of victory. That is where we come from, remember that!”

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The photo above of my mother was taken recently while visiting her in Reno, Nevada.  With each visit for so many years now, I couldn’t help asking myself if this was the last time I would see her.  Well, Mom, is turning age 97 this month of September and she is still up and around living her life in the comfortable and caring home of Regent Care Center in Reno, Nevada.

We owe so much to the military spouses and moms of all wars!  “Together we served!”  Without the courageous military spouses of “then and now,” we military kids, including my own boomer generation, would not be here at all.  War weary soldiers and sailors had the hopes and dreams of going home to resume their lives, which gave them the spiritual power and bravery to get through each day, no matter how horrific the circumstances of battle.  We remember and honor the ultimate sacrifice of countless numbers of warriors who didn’t make it home.  Many had children they never met.  It was then and now that the military spouse as a single mom, had to carry on and raise the children who would not have a father.  For those warriors who did come home, the war often came home with them.  It was then and now a double duty to care for a broken warrior as well as raise the children who came before and after the war was over…

facilities_reno_gallery_5_150

Regent Care Center, Reno, Nv

It is with love, privilege and honor to celebrate my mother’s birthday; and her service to America.  Military families serve(d) too!  It was a hard road for my parents and countless couples who came out of the Depression Era to fight for freedom during World War II.  The home front was critical to fighting and winning wars then and now…

Happy Birthday, Mom!  I am counting on our next visit.  The memories of all our visits in recent years are very special…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2… Click the highlighted text for my author page…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Child Advocate

For Immediate Release…Museum of the American Military Family locates at Bataan Military Academy…

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 9, 2015 | Author: americanmilitaryfamilymuseum | Filed under: Brats, Events, Museum News, Museum of the American Military Family, News, The Board of Directors | Leave a comment logo copyFor Additional Information Dr. Allen Dale Olson militaryfamilymuseum@comcast.net (505) 400-3849

Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center  Click on this link for more…

MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY FAMILY & LEARNING CENTER (MAMF) LOCATES AT BATAAN MILITARY ACADEMY (BMA)

 

Groups Call Move a “Good Fit”

Albuquerque, NM – An Albuquerque charter school has just joined forces with the only museum in the country dedicated to the collection and preservation of the stories, documents, and artifacts of America’s military families. Both the Bataan Military Academy Charter School (BMA) and the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF) have moved into 5555 McLeod Boulevard NE, Albuquerque.

BMA serves grades nine through twelve, meets U.S. Navy standards in curriculum and in Naval sciences, including standards in physical fitness and in honoring traditional Naval standards. The school is in partnership with parents, teachers, military organizations, and with the military services. Principal, “Captain” Jan Zink, works closely with the Academy’s Board of Governors, chaired by Dr. Alan Holmquist.

BMA students are cadets grouped as in a military organization and follow the rank structure of the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Corps (NJROTC). In addition to traditional high school activities and sports, BMA cadets also form color guards, drill teams, and rifle teams. The school is named for the 70,000 soldiers and sailors forced to surrender on Luzon in 1942, some 70,000 of whom died during the infamous “Bataan Death March.” Many of those who died were from New Mexico. Annually BMA cadets simulate that march in a 26-mile hike at White Sands Proving Grounds.

MAMF, founded four years ago by Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, a DoD “Brat,” an Army wife and an Army mother, has been active throughout Albuquerque– even without a facility– by presenting documentary film programs, stage performances, military ceremonies and major exhibits in various venues, including the National Nuclear Museum, the South Broadway Cultural Center, the International Balloon Museum, and the Wheels Museum.

MAMF’s volunteer Board of Directors includes an Artist-in-Residence, a Writer-in Residence, and liaison chairs to military spouses, military organizations, “Brats” and Veterans’ organizations. Its programs reach throughout the country through its Operation Footlocker, mobile exhibits which go to public schools, nursing homes, USO events, and to reunions of former students of Defense Department schools. MAMF is a 501 c 3 not for profit.

MAMF has a partnership with the American Overseas Schools Historical Society which represents thousands of former teachers and administrators in the Defense Department world-wide school system and with “Overseas Brats,” representing thousands of adult military “Brats.”

Till this semester, BMA had been on Mountain Road in Albuquerque, and MAMF existed as an on-line presence. In the McLeod facility, MAMF occupies the second floor; BMA the ground floor. Both Captain Zink and Executive Director Woessner believe the shared home makes a “good fit” for the school and the museum. They agree that the MAMF library, archives, exhibits, and historical folios of military family life are valuable resources for the cadets, who in turn, provide ceremonial support for MAMF programs.

The Museum is open by appointment only.

Tel: 505-504-3860

E-mail: militaryfamilymuseum@comcast.net

For additional information, visit:

http://bataanmilitaryacademy.org and/or http://www.museumoftheamericanmilitaryfamily.org.

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by Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2… Click highlighted text for my author page…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Advisory Board Member, Museum of the American Military Family

For Immediate Release… My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2…Press Release!

Press Release–My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2… “Saving your children, family, and loved ones from inter-generational post traumatic stress (PTS).”

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Depoe Bay, Oregon

 

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“Saving your children, family, and loved ones from inter-generational post traumatic stress (PTS).”

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 14, 2015 | Author Steve Sparks |

 

My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2, will be released on Friday August 14, 2015.  The nonfiction narrative represents four years of outreach and research captured from the author’s blog, Children and Families in Life after Trauma. Selected topics are organized into eight chapters focused on trauma affected family circumstances and positive outcomes.

This third book release is about Steve’s personal journey of healing.  He writes as a survivor of childhood and early adult trauma growing up in a toxic military family torn apart by WWII and Korean War.  Steve’s blog, Children and Families in Life after Trauma, provides rich content as an e-book.  The narrative carries the reader on a story of inspiration, passion, and discovery of the roots of trauma-affected children and provides strategies for parents, teachers, and loved ones to help mitigate the suffering.

Steve’s story addresses the broader circumstances of children and families living with traumatic experiences, including military families, 1st responders, kids growing up with domestic violence, and in troubled neighborhoods affected by gangs, drugs, and severe crime. Sparks carves out a path of healing and peace of mind that has brought joy to his life and far better relationships with family and friends, including far less stressful and more rewarding professional experiences. The book truly shows an inspirational and motivational journey that has its roots in making a difference for others. Steve lives with his wife and soul mate Judy in Depoe Bay, Oregon. Judy has been a critical partner in supporting his work, including writing the Foreword for this latest release. Circe Olson Woessner, executive director, Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF) writes an excellent Prologue to show the impact of post-traumatic stress (PTS) on the military family as a whole. One complete chapter of Steve’s book is dedicated to MAMF.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2… Click highlighted text for my author page for ordering or downloading eBooks.

Museum of the American Military Family… Prologue…My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 2, by Steve Sparks

Circe

Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, ND, Executive Director, is an Army wife of twenty years and mother to an active duty soldier. She taught in the overseas Department of Defense Schools in Europe and the Caribbean and currently works for the federal government. In 2002, she compiled the stories of over 150 University of Maryland, Munich, Germany alumni, resulting in two books documenting the history of that campus’ 40-year history. She has been recognized for her unique education programs in the US and abroad and has been published in Eddiciones Santillana’s Strategies for Teaching English in Puerto Rico. She has been featured in the Army Times and has been quoted in scholarly books about growing up on military bases overseas. Circe belongs to the Blue Star Mothers and co-edits the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) Quarterly newsletter.

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Saving your children, family and loved ones from inter-generational post traumatic stress (PTS)

Prologue

The Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center (MAMF) is where people with shared and converging paths come together as community, inspiring a sense of place and history.

As a repository for their stories, we shape the future by preserving our heritage, recording its evolution, and inviting dialogue by sharing our experiences with the world.

Because military families often view the same event in history through a different lens than their service member, they provide a different perspective. In order to fully understand the military families’ experience, it’s important to examine history from all angles.

Military families have lots of stories to tell — and their stories should be recorded to be shared with future generations– happy stories–sad stories–and those almost too terrible to tell.

Navy brat and author Steve Sparks joined the MAMF community in 2013, especially to tell his story, which initially sad and bleak becomes one of inspiration.

Intergenerational PTSD is certainly not new, but until recently, little was said about it. Steve hopes that by telling his story, he can offer comfort and hope to others. By breaking the silence and talking about intergenerational PTSD, Steve hopes people can learn more about resources and tools available to them.

Steve has collaborated on several projects with MAMF, each time presenting different aspects of his life as a child growing up in a “toxic” household–because MAMF wants to present a complete picture of military family life, we would be remiss to gloss over the effects PTSD has on the family unit.

Circe Olson Woessner, Executive Director, Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center

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Release of my new book, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 2, is planned for mid-July 2015.  Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1…  Click on highlighted text for my author page…