If you're a military spouse friend of mine, you might be aware that I'm rankled by rank. In fact, I recently wrote an article about rank for Military Spouse magazine.
There are community responsibilities senior spouses take on. We run fundraisers, organize events, bring the main dish to the unit picnic, visit families in need, and support our spouses' careers in myriad ways. Without the efforts of senior spouses, the military family would be in sad shape indeed: Imagine a large rowdy family tended only by an absentee workaholic parent whose idea of nurturing is to say "Suck it up!" loudly and often.
Rank = Responsibility. I get that. I embrace it.
What rankles me is the relation of rank to privilege.
Recently, I was flabbergasted when a spouse of one of my husband's unit members asked if she was allowed to receive emails about base information directly, or whether I would be forwarding that information to her.
I am happy to forward what I have, I explained, but I'd be just as happy if she'd email the original senders and ask to be put on their mailing lists. Last I checked, there's no rank insignia on MY shoulder!
"I can do that?" she asked. "It's okay to do that?!" She was excited but mystified.
"Absolutely," I said. "Where information is concerned my world is flat."
I see no reason to keep other spouses in the dark about events or issues in our community. The more involved others are in the community, the happier they (and I) will be. I encouraged her to seek information directly from the source.
After some initial shock, she said, "That's not how it was at my last base." She looked like a kid who'd just learned that she finally graduated up from the kiddie table at Thanksgiving dinner.
She's excited to be treated like a fully participating member of the team, instead of a link in some military spouse's chain of command. And I'm happy to have a little help nurturing this large rowdy family. Inclusion feels better than privilege.
Whether or not you're a military spouse, I'm on the Sunday Soapbox to say this: if you're wearing rank, get over it. You aren't better than anyone else. We're all at the grown-up table now. The world is flat.
What's got you on your soapbox this week? Link up an opinion piece below.