Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Life Imitates Art of War

This post will show the way my head works; I find obvious and obscure correlations and connections between things. Much like my parenting tips as Sports Analogies post (which were obvious), I like to find ways to relate anything to anything else. It is one of my strengths as a Special Education teacher, and I like to see the wheels begin to turn as skillA relates to activityB. It is also what made me an above-average used car salesman (yeah, I was one once).

I was thinking about roles of those in authority and how we as parents teach these roles to our kids. One way or another (it took me a while, and I don't really remember how) I started thinking about military tactics and parenting tactics. Then I began thinking about the different roles soldiers play in war, and how it relates to the type of parenting we do at times. The following list is what I came up with:

BOMBER PILOT: Heavy-handed disciplinarian, when you're around.  Your kids know your name, but refer to you as The Hammer.  You swoop in at the end of the day to dole out punishments with harsh precision because the ground forces (see GRUNTS) called for reinforcements.  May be the style of the executive parent, or you will see this in a single-income home.  "Wait 'til your father/mother gets home."

BUFFALO SOLDIER: Parents who succeed despite everything. Socio-economic status, community environment, single parent, divorce, traumatic event, etc do now deter this parent from giving their child ALL they can. They are the exception to the rule, and do not conform to the statistics. Their child may be the first in their family to go to college.

ENTRENCHED SOLDIER: Stuck in a stalemate. Unable to see what's coming. Unwilling to give ground. Shooting blindly at issues that do not relate to what their kids are dealing with. Feel as if they are going nowhere, but are afraid to try something new.

GRUNTS: Put in the hard work of parenthood. They are the first to get up and have everything ready in the morning, and the last to sleep at night once everyone is fed, clean, and happy. Some Stay-At-Home parents may feel like this, or like they are trying to take the beach at Normandy every morning. ;-)

KAMIKAZEE PILOTS: Parents who seem to sacrifice their own life and happiness to be parents. Abandon all for the title and status of parent. They forget personal hobbies, or interests, and their whole identity becomes that of So-and-So's parent.

THE SABOTEUR: Parents who either knowingly or unwittingly undermine their child's ability to be successful. A parent who is an enabler. Some kids who receive special education services may not have internal disabilities, but disabling parents.

THE SNIPER: A master of working behind the scenes. They recognize possible issues before they arise, plan to have themselves in a position to have it in their sights, and deals with the issue quickly so that it doesn't grow out of proportion, or seem like an issue at all.

TUSKEGEE AIRMEN: when a child has an extended household devote to their success through life. This may be actual family members assuming partial responsibility of raising the kids, or friends and community members making sure all kids show respect and are safe.

So, this is what came out of my head. Are there any I missed?



  1. As a former Army officer, I'd respectfully submit that you omitted the veteran non-commissioned officer (NCO). The wisened world-savvy individual who serves as leader, mentor, confidant, guide and occasionally taskmaster to the young impressionable troops.

    The NCO is the individual that gives their soldiers continuing growing responsibilities. The NCO challenges the young service member under their command to be the best they can be, both as an individual and as part of the unit, and the total society.

    An NCO gives that young trooper just enough rope to hang themselves and when the trooper gets snagged, the NCO is there to untangle them and get them back on the right path before the trooper truly injures themselves. Sometimes it requires discipline and the discipline of an NCO can be incredibly severe. But it always comes from a place of learning.

    That's the role my wife and I are trying to serve in our family unit. Hoo-ah!

  2. I LOVE this. It's amazing how all parents fit into some of these roles at one time or another. Right now, I feel like a grunt LOL!

    I'm following from Book Blogs.


  3. Elisabeth, thanks for stopping by. Hopefully you don't feel like a grunt EVERYDAY.

    KrellPW, thanks for the addition. I can't believe I forgot about NCOs. I came to appreciate the NCO when I was Just a cadet at the Air Force Academy.

  4. Hey JB - Great blog - fun to see the male side of it all! This, from the grunt bomber pilot! You've got a new follower in me!

  5. JB,

    I'll expand on one that you already have listed. You can't be a great sniper without a great spotter. Because the sniper is engaged and at times so focused on one "target", you need the spotter to observe things that the sniper can't see. Especially his or her "six". Also, because of the training these roles are often interchangeable. Hmmm? What roles do these sound like?

    Good post!

  6. Wendy, thanks for stopping by.

    Ed, I like the expansion. Sounds like a household with multiple kids and one parent is engaged while the other is "watching their six". I like the visual, and that the roles are interchangeable; this may not have been the case w
    Ith our parents or grandparents, but I think roles are becoming more fluid now.