It takes a lot to impress me with new ideas. I’ll be honest, with over 300 radio shows under my belt pertaining to military and motherhood, I think I have heard everything. Then an idea pops out from an unlikely place from an unlikely person. No, it’s not a shrink or a counselor or a decorated veteran. It came from a mom. From a mom who started a small Facebook group called PODS – Parents of Deployed Service Members.

This group is private and has about 1500 members. I had the pleasure of meeting Marcella Stretch the founder and she came up with a great idea recently. You see in Battle – we have Battle Buddies. Those promised to be at our side and watch our back and take care of us when we need them.

Marcella Stretch came up with the concept of Battle Parents. This is a unique and powerful concept because it allows our parents of military service members to bond and support each other, in ways that no one else can. If you are a service member, encourage your mom or dad to get a Battle Parent.

See, a Battle Parent promises to be at their side and watch their back and take care of them when needed. Parents of our service men and women take on a unique role. The love their children and knowingly support them as they put themselves in harm’s way for our country. Are they proud? Damn Proud! Are they scared? Every day.

As a parent, you worry about your kids all their lives. No matter how old you are, if your parents are still alive, they worry about you. You can support them, sure, but you have a job to do. You have a mission. That’s why Battle Parents need to band together, form alliances and share information.

This is especially important when a Battle Parent’s adult child goes on their first deployment, goes to basic or transfers to a new area. Parents worry. One of the best ways to help your parents is to provide them with real information from real parents who have gone or are going through the same thing.

I watch Battle Parents in action. One child is injured or lost – Battle Parents rush in to support the grieving parent. One child is coming home – Battle Parents rush in to celebrate. Parents get tired. Parents get scared. Parents get confused. Together we are stronger, and our Military Parents – the PODS – Parents of Deployed Service members, can band together and life all of us up.

So parents – get a Battle Parent. You can find them online. Service men and women, encourage your Mom or Dad to get their Battle Buddy – their own Battle Parent. And Marcella Stretch of PODS – thank you for giving a name to this outstanding concept of parents supporting parents while their adult children are on deployment – as well as before and after.

-Sandra Beck