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Energizer Blog

  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

Resilience Is The Essence Of Being A BRAT!

Brat kid playing with his dad

I never thought that being a brat was something positive. You know, the whiney, spoiled kid who wants her/his own way.

But—as often happens—my pre-conceived notions were confounded when I heard a very different definition of BRAT as being the essence of resilience.

Here’s the story:

Tom Callister, a long-time friend and fellow speaker, announced to me that he was a brat!

“I don’t think you are a brat, Tom,” I replied with enthusiasm. “I think you’re a really nice, kind guy. Opinionated but a nice guy. ”

Tom went on to explain why he was a brat. His explanation prompted me to ask him to write the following:

"Members of the US military (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard) are typically required to move as part of the normal military reassignment of duty stations every 18 months to 3 years. For the spouses and children of military parents these required moves may be especially challenging as family members have to relocate to new towns and cities, foreign destinations, schools, places of worship and more.

These changes require leaving old friends and known places behind and while trying to make new friends and acclimate to new environments.

The dictionary defines "Brat" as a "humorous or derogatory term used to describe a badly behaving child or person."

However, the term "brat" when used in a military context is more often an affectionate term used to describe the child or children of military parents.

"Why?" you ask. Stay with me and I'll explain.

As the child of a United States Naval officer, I personally experienced moving every few years with my parents as my father's duty stations were reassigned. That meant new schools and neighborhoods and trying to make friends in entirely new communities. Since most childhood friends had already been established among the "long term, local kids," as "the new kid on the block" I was rarely welcomed in the established "cliques" or "inner circles." That meant I was often on my own.

The good news was that I had an understanding and supportive mother and father. As such, while I didn't clearly understand until I had grown up, if one is fortunate to have supportive and understanding parents, whether military or not, the term "BRAT" may more often mean that one can become "Brave, Resilient, Adaptable and Tenacious" - aka, a BRAT!

Those are qualities that will serve anyone well throughout their life.

Thanks, Mom and Dad. Thanks to your support, I am proud to be a "BRAT.”

And thanks, Tom. You are brave, resilient, adaptable, and tenacious. A GREAT BRAT!

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