Long time soldiers or wet-behind-the-ears recruits might need to be tough to make it through their tour of duty, but giving the right encouraging words for a soldier can do much to keep the warm memories of home, family and friends fresh in their minds.
Remind your soldier, whether a family member or a pen pal, that he is important. Let him know how much everyone misses him, but don't over do it. Reminders of home, family, friends, and loved ones are all to the good, but too much sentimentality can just make the soldier depressed or anxious that he's not at home, sharing in all the joy.
Military members love a good joke, so remember to keep it light. An amusing card or a funny joke are always appreciated, as are digital pictures of the kids or the family pet doing funny stunts.
Try not to overburden your soldier with the more painful or serious issues at the homefront. There's nothing he can do to help; not being there and worrying about a family situation will just distract him from his soldiering duties.
Considering how important it is for him to focus on what's in front of him, and how his life could depend upon his concentration, you can see that keeping it light and adding encouraging words for a soldier is the best move you can make.
Not all mail has to be the traditional snail mail, although there's no denying soldiers love to get mail and packages. Many soldiers in the computer age have access to email, even in the most remote parts of the globe.
Take advantage of the instant immediacy of email to drop him a line on a frequent basis. Send him Internet addresses of interesting, amusing sites that'll take his mind off the battle or boredom of soldiering, even if just for a few minutes.
If you and your soldier are lucky enough to have access to email, make sure you send him pictures from home. Even just a quick cell phone picture of a child can lift his spirits and make him feel closer to his nearest and dearest.
Let him or her know how proud you are of them and what they are doing. Very few people are called upon to risk or give their lives in the course of their job, and that is what is required of members of the military. Even if their job is far from the front lines, that doesn't make it any less dangerous.
Soldiers are aware of that. They don't need to be burdened with your fear or regret, but what they could use is a pat on the back. "You did a great job. We're all so proud of you!" can do much to give your military man or woman a much needed boost. Remember, there's no such thing as too much recognition and praise for anyone in this line of work. Appreciation is something he or she rightly deserves.
The bonds between soldiers are forged in the furnace of war, and it can be inconceivable for a civilian to understand how hard it is on a soldier when a friend dies in battle. You don't have to understand completely. Just be there for him if he needs to get it out of his system.
Even if he doesn't talk about it, that doesn't mean he isn't thinking of it. Let him know that no matter what happens, you're ready to listen and be his sounding board.
That's the kind of love a soldier genuinely appreciates. It's not easy to keep from transferring your own fears and anxieties to someone who is in the front lines, but the more you can do that, and instead be there to support him, the easier of a time he'll have in the field.
Remember, the most important encouraging words for a soldier are the ones that come sincerely, from the heart. You know it, and so does your loved one who is working to support his country. It's your honor to do the same for him.