22 August 2011

The Arts of War and Parenting

The 2011 Iowa State Fair ended yesterday. A couple of different days during the fair's 11-day run, Household-6, the kids, and I braved the heat, the crowds, the animals, the carnival rides, and the foods-on-a-stick. With Lena, now age 6, and Rain, age 4, we've moved beyond strollers and backpack kid-carriers. We travel more lightly now, if not exactly more efficiently.

In conducting our state fair maneuvers, I was repeatedly surprised how much Army techniques and tribal wisdom are applicable to parenting on the march:
  • "No battle plan survives contact with your kids."
  • Everyone in your squad should know the plan.
  • Move in buddy teams. Always maintain visual contact.
  • Conduct periodic tactical halts. Check buddies, equipment, supplies, and morale.
  • Always brief a "lost soldier" plan.
  • Always brief primary, alternate, and emergency means of communication.
  • Identify rally points.
  • Check fluid levels before, during, and after operation. Report all classes of leaks (I, II, and III) to a supervisor immediately.
  • Know your pace count. Recognize your kids' pace count may be 4 or 5 times your own. Your fastest speed is that of the slowest member in your squad.
  • "Strategy is for amateurs. Logistics is for parents."
  • Basic combat load is one day's supply of water, wipes, cleanser, and clothes.
  • Hasty decon is a squad-size operation which sustains the combat potential of a contaminated force by limiting spread of contamination.
  • "This is my kid. There are many like him, but this one is mine."
  • "I am responsible for everything my kid does and fails to do."
  • "Never leave a kid behind."
And, finally, to paraphrase the ancient military philosopher Sun Tzu:
  • "The supreme art of parenting is to subdue the enemy without fighting."


  1. "I am responsible for everything my kid does and fails to do."

    I wish all parents believed that.

    GOod Job CS :)


  2. I love love loved this! Hilarious. Can't stop laughing at the "This is my kid. There are many like him, but this one is mine" reference.

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  4. I agree with you that being a parent is probably the most important job most people will ever have. In a life where every action and word is mimicked and adopted by your child, you are inspired to be a role model for your kids every second.

    nyc moms


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