FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- One of the most important things a person can learn in life is how to manage expectations and roll with setbacks.

An expectation is an anticipation of what will happen. It is a belief that is centered on the future. It may or may or may not be realistic and, if it isn't, it can lead to disappointment. The ability to bounce back from challenges and to remain positive and resilient is dependent upon the ability to manage expectations.

How can a person manage his or her expectations and stay resilient while the Army is downsizing, the country is in sequestration and Army civilians are facing furloughs? By educating and empowering oneself with knowledge.

Like preventive medicine, a booster shot of information and planning will go a long way toward preventing an emotional emergency. Understanding the difference between Army benefits and entitlements is one step toward minimizing disappointments and remaining optimistic. A benefit is an incentive, like, for example, child care centers, recreational facilities and the commissary.

Benefits are typically provided by the Army for retention or to enhance quality of life. A benefit may change or not be available at all. An entitlement, on the other hand, is something a person has the right to receive. It's authorized by law; for example, military pay.

What happens when a benefit that we all are accustomed to is no longer available? Or when a service provider is closed because of a furlough? It would be easy for someone to get anxious, fed up or even depressed. However, this is an opportune time to put resilience into practice.

Resilient people are able to find positive ways to deal with their issues and, as a result, are less affected by change. Resilience is a skill that can be learned. It is an active, problem-solving approach to life. How can Army Community Service assist the Fort Jackson community in remaining resilient during difficult economic times? Several resources are available.

Resiliency classes are offered to equip Army families with positive coping skills. Financial counselors are available to teach creative ways to "stretch a dollar" and reduce debt. Army Family Team Building classes are offered for Army knowledge and empowerment, including a thorough explanation of benefits and entitlements.

These are just a few of the services ACS provides.

For more information about any of these services, visit or call 751-5256.