By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterFebruary 14, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (February 14, 2013) -- Military Family life has its share of ups and downs, but one Fort Rucker program hopes to provide Family members with the tools they need to get through difficult times.
The Family Member Resilience Training is a two-day class, Feb. 19 and 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Commons to provide people with thinking skills and coping strategies to help Family members through those ups and downs, according to Ruth Gonzalez, Army Community Service relocation readiness program manager.
"Resilience training is one of the best training programs that we have here at Fort Rucker," said Gonzalez. "It teaches Family members or anyone who attends why they react to a given situation in a certain way and helps them understand what's going on in their lives so that they can bounce back from these situations.
"If a person is going through any event in his or her life, whether it's a car breaking down or a death in the Family, we give people the tools they need to get through those situations," she said.
Gonzalez said that situations or life events can trigger different reactions from different people and the training provided by the program helps people understand why reactions are different.
"Resilience training makes you look at yourself and ask yourself why you react a certain way," she said. "It makes you ask why it is that you can bounce back from something, but someone else might lose it completely."
She added that training like this is essential in a military environment because of the unique circumstances that military Families have to endure.
"With multiple deployments and so many separations, [the class] is a great place for people to sit with Family and get as much information as possible before the next deployment cycle," said the program manager. "I'm all about information and I truly believe that knowledge is power."
Gonzalez said that reactions should be in the thought process, and a big problem that some people have is that they don't think before reacting.
"Life is going so fast that when something happens, people usually just react," she said. "In the class, we have the students stop and think about exactly what's going through their minds, then we give them the tools they need to start working with those thoughts so when they do react, they are in control."
The tools that are provided help people be in control and help them communicate with Family, friends, coworkers or anyone they come in contact with in their lives.
A portion of the class is about assertive communication and how people react to positive news, said Gonzalez.
"It's one of those light-bulb moments that our students get," she said. "A lot of times when we receive positive news from a Family member, we take it for granted."
The program helps people see how they treat their Family members and the difference in reactions they have based on the relationships they have with loved ones.
"We react differently to them. We might blow them off or act nonchalant, but that's how relationships can break up sometimes," said Gonzalez. "It's a real 'aha' moment for some and it's a very enlightening part of class."
As a military Family member, Gonzalez said she has been through resilience training and is able to see how the training has helped in her life.
"I've learned to control some of my reactions and it's just helped me understand why I react to some things," she said. "This training is not designed to change someone and it's a lot of stuff people already know, they just didn't know how to do it.
"If I had this training earlier in life … it would have made life a lot easier," she said.
Another part of the class is called "putting it in perspective," which deals with worst-case scenarios.
"This portion of the class is a really hard [part] to go through, but some of our spouses could possibly go through that worst-case scenario," said Gonzalez, adding that it's a necessary part of the training.
Although the training takes people through worst-case scenarios, Gonzalez said that it's still a fun experience for Family members to participate in.
"It's not just sitting in a classroom and having someone speak at you," she said. "We use a lot of videos, a lot of humor and lot of discussion -- real-life examples."
The real-life testimonials that people share help to push the class along and give others something to relate to.
"People will tell their stories and how they worked through it, and that's what makes it real," said Gonzalez. "Life is messy, but if we use tools to fix it and we see how it works, it'll be OK."
To register for the class or for more information, call 255-3817 or 255-3735.