Friday, January 13, 2006

Pentagon to families: Go ahead, laugh

Thanks to USA Today for providing information on the latest tool that the Pentagon is giving to military families on how to deal with the stress of war. Their advice? Laugh! The Pentagon's chief laughter instructor, Col (Ret) James "Scotty" Scott says
"The guiding principle is to laugh for no reason. And that's one of the reasons it works so well for military families," Scott says. "There's a lot they have to be stressed over, a lot of worries, a lot of concerns."

I laugh when things are funny, but frankly there has been nothing funny about my world since my only child, Lt Ken Ballard was sent to Iraq and was killed on 5.30.04.

My life stopped being funny when George Bush was given the presidency in 2000. My life stopped being funny when we started to hear the drumbeats of a premeditated war. No program for proper laughing could have made me laugh.

This program for laughter is more evidence of the denial the Pentagon uses in dealing with families who have loved ones in harm’s way. This program seems to make light of the stress on military families. Research supports humor as a coping mechanism, but there are some things that humor cannot cure. It cannot cure a mother’s broken heart and it cannot cure a family’s worry when their loved one is in harm’s way.

Following orders from the Commander in Chief, the Pentagon has sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers to fight without proper training, personal body armor, and other material support that the DOD should be providing. This laughter program is offensive to family members who know every day they are one knock on the door from knowing the true meaning of “ultimate sacrifice”. As the director of military family support policy, Col (Ret) Scott can do better by these families and reduce their stress by providing them with assurances that the Pentagon is giving their best efforts, as the soldiers do, and not “go to war with the Army you have”.

A course in laughter cannot ease a family’s stress when they know that our country can do better for our soldiers.

    1 comment:

    Chancelucky said...

    All I can say is reading this makes me want to cry.