Words By Mike Weisbecker.
I was going through my feed on a social media site and saw an entry from the USO. Basically they were reassuring us (followers of the USO) that they were not endorsing or supporting a particular term to describe children of military parents. So I start to read the comments below and they were eye opening.
Turns out the USO provides support to a mother and daughter who have written a book called the Little CHAMPS. CHAMPS is an acronym for Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel. Here is the long description of what they hope to do culled from their Facebook site “"The Little CHAMPS" (TLC) children's book serves a dual purpose: 1) serves as a therapy tool for military children to cope with their military-connected challenges, while acknowledging the daily sacrifices they make on our behalf; 2) raises awareness among civilian children about military life, and the challenges faced by their military peers.”
Sounds noble enough. There is another mission statement blurb that says they are trying to get a copy of the book to each of the 700,000 plus military children. They also do tours (sponsored by the USO) to military communities stateside and overseas and provide lecture and “edu-tainment”.
Almost to a person, everyone I have met who was a military brat wore that term as proudly as any of us wore our class A’s home on our first leave. Many of them are voicing their concerns with this group, their curriculum, and the fact that the USO is supporting them. I haven’t sat through one of their “edu-tainment” sessions but the vibe I get from reading the comments on the USO site and on their site on Facebook, it sounds like they are trying to get this CHAMPS phrase to replace being called a military brat.
Let’s look at their statement about raising awareness among civilian children about military life. This is contradicted on their website by stating they are getting the books to all the military kids. Nothing about getting copies to civilian kids in communities with military kids in the school districts there.
The mother/daughter team behind this DO NOT have any life experience as military or as a military brat. But they sure as hell seem to be making sure they take advantage of getting their USO sponsored message out to any overseas locale they can get to.
Many of the concerns are that this is a concerted effort to stop using the term brat when talking about military children. From the reaction of many social media platforms and blogs, this doesn’t seem to be taking hold.
Another concern being raised is that it seems the USO has bought many copies of the book ($10 each copy) and teacher kits (one figure said the teacher kit costs $400). For a non-profit, looks like they do pretty good if you get an organization that has access to a captive audience of 700,000 plus folks to buy your product outright and get you to these locations on their dime.
What do you think? Does terminology really matter? Is it ethical or insulting for a person to make money from a group with NO connection to said group?