News from the TCKid Community

Refusing to Be Erased

with 21 comments

The Significance of Words

Identity: The Anchor That Names Our Experiences

Without an Anchor That Names Our Identities


After some reflection of this CHAMPS incident and finding parallels with my own experiences as a TCK, this is the deeper reason I concluded that explains why switching “BRATS” to “CHAMPS” has such a tremendous impact:

Language that evolves out of a collective and personal acknowledgement of unique and significant experiences serves to validate these experiences.  Integral in this process are specific vocabulary words accepted by the people involved in these experiences and an overarching identity and sub-identities that names the experiences.  A change in the terms used to refer to an identity from a place disconnected from the experiences disregards the validated unique and significant experiences.  

Change the words used to name an identity(ies) without permission from the tribe that claims that identity(ies) and you disregard the sacred process of how a people came to acknowledge and validate their very personal and one another’s unique and significant experiences.

This incident is not just about a name, but an identity that involves a history of victories over difficult journeys, such as having special memories for schools that no longer exist or the long term uncertainty of a parent’s return home.  Most civilians would not understand things like this.  People need to be the recognized experts of their own individual and shared experiences.

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Written by Myra Dumapias

December 13, 2014 at 2:54 pm

21 Responses

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  1. Thank you, Myra. This article eloquently states exactly what the issue is and has been about. Our identity — the past and the future. You cannot cut today’s BRAT off from yesterday’s BRAT without doing extreme harm.

    And no amount of research on the subject of the military child will ever be valid if you refuse to communicate with and include input from those who had a military childhood.

    We have every right to be angry, incensed and outraged by this hijack. And when confronted, instead of recognizing their failing and asking for input (which they would have gotten…if they were genuine), they chose to vilify us because we were criticizing them for being pure good souls who only wanted to help us.
    The first step was to acknowledge us by our name — not tell us that it was not good enough.
    They owe us a huge apology — not just for their initial hijacking, but also for their constant vilification and dismissal of us. [oh, I don’t intend to suffocate waiting for it though.]

    Misty Corrales

    December 13, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    • Exactly.. you put it so well! I am still hoping that some will realize their mistake in dismissing your concerns…. the way your concerns as a military brat community were dismissed makes it evident that there is an underestimation of who today’s military brats are exactly.


      December 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    • Well said! I needed this tribe years ago…but God used the well meaning but hurtful comments to draw me closer to Him…I now worry less what others think (yup, even in the church) n more what He thinks:)

      Beverly Young-Kniegge

      December 16, 2014 at 6:18 am

  2. Eloquent is an understatement. Thank you for putting words to our feelings.


    December 13, 2014 at 10:28 pm

  3. Wow! Well thought out, expressed and speaks as if it came from my own soul. I am a proud AF BRAT! Ten schools in 13 years. It made me work at getting over the social anxiety. lol I learned that since we would probably be moving in a year, I had better make friends fast or I would be lonely all year! Thank you for putting words to the song in my heart. ~hugs~


    December 13, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    • Yes as a civilian and foreign service brat, I completely relate to that! I think I invested time into this article because I was just trying to make connections when I felt overwhelmed with a spirit of rejection… extreme rejection in the skepticism of that conversation and the rejection of the precious voice of military brats ( some of whom also happen to be Vietnam vets!)


      December 15, 2014 at 2:44 pm

  4. “Please visit this page to watch an interview with military brats about this issue and how they wish to proceed with services and programs for military brats.”

    I’ve read the article twice and I still can’t figure out what “this page” is to watch the video and who “they” are? Is they a generic reference to older military brats? A specific brats organization and its leaders? Or an individual brat and a video they made? This is mixed in with a paragraph talking about Operation CHAMPS in the previous sentence. I don’t think the they is them even though they are the closest antecedent!?!

    Overall a very good and articulate article – but needs a once over to tighten up the grammar.


    December 14, 2014 at 7:40 am

    • Thanks! That one sentence was clarified to : “Please visit this page at a later time for a link that will be added in the near future to an interview with military brats about this issue. In the interview, we also discuss how they wish to proceed with services and programs for military brats.” … “this page” refers to this, here, page that this article is on.


      December 15, 2014 at 9:19 am

  5. Bravo Myra. WOW! I was going to say much more, but…WOW.

    Robert L Webster

    December 14, 2014 at 9:27 am

    • Robert, thank you for remaining very supportive and a great resource to partner with for the TCK community. I look forward to working with you as this year unfolds.


      January 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm

  6. Thank you for writing this. It’s important to have a calm and erudite voice on this issue, and you have provided it.

    Susan Haney

    December 14, 2014 at 10:25 am

    • Thank you, Susan. Believe me, I also had to find stillness before writing this. I was offended alongside you all.


      January 23, 2015 at 12:56 pm

  7. I hope all of our TCK experiences can encourage each other…I have forgiven unthoughtful comments, but feel I can use that experience to encourage others…if you’re new to an area and someone says ” You don’t seem to have any friends” turn a deaf ear…it does not define you. If someone puts down what you share comparing you to a Seattle street kid, they have no clue and no gift of empathy…please don’t let rude comments define how you feel about a place you live…it has taken me 20 years to forgive…may you be able to sooner:)

    Beverly Young-Kniegge

    December 14, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    • Thank you, Beverly. Yes I am in similar shoes as you – I just wanted to help those who have experienced being dismissed know that they are not alone. Writing and connecting with you all helped me move beyond how insensitive comments affected me.


      January 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm

  8. Thank you for bringing up some important issues, Myra. To the outsider our TCK experiences may seem trivial since they have no way to relate. I agree that our TCK needs are best met by other TCKs who have firsthand experience with the issues. I feel very fortunate that my experience as a TCK was more on the “gifts”/positive side, but I can certainly relate to some of the TCK challenges which I only really feel comfortable discussing with other TCKs. And your premise of protecting our identity as TCKs/military brats/whatever the case may be is spot on.

    Lily Ann Fouts

    December 15, 2014 at 8:59 am

    • Thank you Lily! It’s nice to hear that you could relate and agree to this as a civilian TCK!


      December 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm

  9. I await the completion of this treatise with bated breath and unbridled anticipation. The link to this article has become my standard for introduction of the uninitiated to the CHAMPS/BRAT fracas (and all things TCK)
    You have drawn up a dictionary, encyclopedic entry, historical document, and contact list/bios, in five easy pages that explains the basics (plus) clearly and concisely.
    Keep an extra copy on hand, ‘cuz I think I’m going to wear this one out.

    Michael A Payne

    December 20, 2014 at 3:24 pm

  10. As much as those close to me try to understand the struggles a Brat has undergone, they will admit that they don’t completely understand. Visiting my son recently we were discussing how many schools I attended, 15 total, which included 4 high schools (2 years in the same school), he lovingly said “no wonder you have wanderlust.”

    Kay Harrell Kern

    December 20, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    • Hi Kay… yes, those experiences are one of the things we have in common… I attended 3 high schools and spent 2 years in one school too! We need more people like us in leadership positions so that little things like this aren’t easily dismissed.


      January 23, 2015 at 12:54 pm

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