Unfortunately, boot camp wasn’t meant to be easy.
For families or recruits.
Being torn away from technology and shipped away from everything familiar is a tough place to be. Not to mention being thrust into learning all the military jargon, rules, and culture in a few short months. Add in constant fatigue (mental and physical) with the stress of someone constantly screaming at you, and it’s enough to make anyone want to quit.
That’s where positive support from back home plays a huge role in a recruit’s success.
More than likely, boot camp will be the most structured, restrictive experience of your loved one’s life. By carrying out their branch’s honorable oath, they’ve taken on all aspects of military life.
That includes pushing through boot camp, as challenging as it may be. During this time, your recruit needs support, love, and encouragement more than ever before.
Read on to learn how to keep your letters to boot camp light and positive.
Challenging Moments Will Happen
Life can be challenging for you, too, when your loved one is away at boot camp.
Some days will be harder than others. It’s natural to want to lean on people who support you, including your service member.
Maybe the car won’t start. Perhaps your kid failed a class. The roof might be leaking. Work is draining.
The list of ways rough days happen is endless.
If you think hard enough, there’s likely a positive moment to share even during the worst of times.
When sharing news from home, keep in mind it’s nice for your recruit to hear the positive aspects. The bad ones, well, you might want to wait on those. Especially if you’re just having a really crummy day and are only looking to vent.
Here’s a scenario to consider as you write your letters to boot camp:
Imagine carrying a lot of physical baggage through an airport. Your hands are completely full; you’re wearing a heavy backpack. Maybe you’re even towing a suitcase as well.
How would it feel if someone threw another bag at you while you were trying to get to your terminal on time?
You’d have to figure out a way to carry it despite all the other baggage you’ve got.
You can imagine your service member likely feels that same way if they were to receive a letter full of bad news. Their hands are pretty well tied when it comes to helping you out from afar.
They’d love to help you; they’ll want to help you, but they can’t.
If they do, they likely won’t make it to their terminal on time, if at all.
If they’re distracted, they may not perform as well on written and physical tests, which could push back graduation. Which also means it’ll be that much longer before you can see them again.
Another way to look at it?
Think of what kind of letters would cheer you up on your most difficult of days. Then sit down and write a letter just like that to your service member.
They’ll appreciate you keeping their spirits up when there aren’t a ton of warm fuzzy feelings being offered at boot camp.
Keep Your Letters To Boot Camp Positive
When you’re having an off day, it can be tough to think of ways to offer a positive spin on it. Sometimes keeping a gratitude journal or an ongoing list of happy or joyous moments can offer inspiration.
Still stuck? Here’s some boot camp letter ideas:
- Write about the good parts of your day
- Share a funny story
- Offer insight to your child’s day
- Send jokes (lighthearted, appropriate ones)
- Cut out a few comic strips to send
- Send photos with captions
- Offer updates on favorite sports teams
- Write a page of inspirational religious quotes
- Create a collage of motivational quotes
- End your letter with a countdown
If you’re just having a really rough day and can’t shake the negativity, consider waiting until the next day to send off a letter. It’ll give you a chance to clear your thoughts and write when you’re in a better head space.
Keep the End in Mind
Like most events in life, boot camp is relatively short. It may seem like it drags on, especially when you’re first waiting to hear from your loved one. Write to your service member daily, if you can. With each letter you send off, remember it’s one day closer to being able to communicate regularly with your loved one.
As graduation draws near, the time will fly by. Keep yourself busy with positive and productive activities — including letter writing — and your recruit will be back in your arms before you know it.
Positive Message Examples
At a loss for words? Here’s some messages of encouragement your service member will love:
- You can do it.
- I believe in you.
- Hang in there.
- You’re almost done!
- I’ll see you soon!
- We’re at the halfway point!
- Believe you can do it.
- I’m so proud of you.
- You’re capable.
- You can and you will get through this.
- You’ve got this!
- Keep your head up.
- You’re brave.
- You are strong!
- I hope you’re as proud of yourself as I am of you.
Sometimes these phrases may come off as cheesy, but in the hardest of times it may make even your stoic recruit laugh. You never know when they may need a word of encouragement (cheesy or not) to reflect on. Short phrases like this are also easy for your recruit to remember and silently repeat during challenging boot camp moments when mental energy may be waning.
Support is Everything
When your loved one goes off to boot camp, consider yourself their biggest cheerleader. Your love and support via letters is what will keep your service member going.
Mail call is the perfect time for your recruit to reflect on fun memories, upcoming plans, and funny stories. It will give your service member something to look forward to each time they open a letter from you.
You can tell them you miss them without dwelling too long on it. Adding a countdown at the end of a letter reminds them (and you) that the end is in sight. When you’re so far away and can’t offer daily support to your military member, just remember the power of your positive letters.
When one letter can change the outlook for their whole day, it’s worth it to make it a good one! It’s the one guaranteed way to show your support from the afar.