What is a Tactical Family?
The Tactical Family is not a program. I tried programs and while each had its own merits, none of them fit my family, my children, my marriage or our schedule. I found that when you try to press your family into a mold someone else created, it is like trying to put a toddler in a stock pot- it just doesn’t make sense.
My husband is a life-long responder and that career posed many challenges for us in the beginning. Even as I create this website, I am also assisting him as he packs for another deployment. Sometimes we know where he is going, at other times we have no idea because he cannot tell us. The need for becoming a tactical family really was born because when Eddy would return from a deployment, the family could not adjust quickly enough to his arrival and presence and he had the same trouble re-adjusting to being home.
The Tactical Family began as an experiment in managing our home and trying to make the connection we desperately needed as a family. My husband was used to chain of command but when he returned home, we still played “good parent – bad parent” half the time. Eddy was used to having strategy meeting and briefings but at home we still wrote the family schedule and chores on a small dry-wipe board stuck to the refrigerator.
One of the largest sources of frustration for both of us was that chores never seemed to be done or were never completed. Eddy was used to seeing missions accomplished and reports written.
Our experiment was to replicate that “tactical unit” Eddy was used to out of our family. And it worked.
Our children no longer had chores but had missions. Once a mission was successfully completed, a report was given. We no longer struggled with “Who’s in charge when you go to the store?” because we established chain-of-command protocols for each mission, each day and each event.
Family meetings are almost impossible to have in this day and age; schedules are overwhelming and at my house, with 8 children, mealtime is more a battlefield than an atmosphere for in-depth discussions. Once we began to have briefings and strategic meetings, our lives changed.
See, each of these changes made our children feel like they were a part of something much bigger than themselves. Each change brought a sense of belonging and pride. Each day there is a feeling of unity as we all work together toward the successful completion of missions whether that mission is getting the yard picked up or the house cleaned, a new goat pen built or the family trip to the beach. We are all in it together, as a unit.
This may sound like we militarized the family, but it is really not like that at all. We operate like a normal family and believe me, we have our share of food fights and arguments that would result in a court-martial if we were really in the military, but by changing simple wording and titles, by adjusting our language and labels, we created a unit of ten people that work together to achieve goals together.
One large part of being TACTICAL is being prepared. If you ever watch a movie about SWAT Teams you will notice that they never have to turn around halfway to Walmart because they forgot the diaper bag. No SWAT Team member ever got to Aldi’s without the quarter for the shopping cart.
Being prepared for any situation is not something that just happens overnight. While it seems that my husband was given this gift at birth, the rest of us did not get it that way. Being prepared was one of the first goals when we decided to become a tactical family.
A willingness to always be ready creates a tactical person. Remember, you use the word tactical to describe an action or plan which is intended to help achieve a particular goal.
A common first thought when the word tactical gets used is the root word tactic which means a carefully planned strategy. Tactical is more about a strategic problem solving process than anything else. You do not have to sign up to any club or join my program to become a tactical family. Hopefully, as I continue to add to this site and its resources, you will find your own way to becoming a unit that excels at problem-solving.
How will you know you have become a tactical family? There is no certificate of completion from me, that is for sure. You will know that first time you arrive at the Air B&B and find you remembered everything including the little one’s floaties and your toothbrush. You will know the day your oldest says “Mom, I believe today is grocery shopping day so I have checked the fluids in your car and the grocery list is on the dashboard.” You will know the morning you wake up to noises in the yard because your middle child has decided she wants some free time later in the day and has chosen to complete her missions early.
You will know when you start reaching your goals together as opposed to reaching them because you had to push your entire family toward that goal by yourself.
One dictionary I found defines tactical as “a plan of action designed as an expedient toward gaining a desired end.” Setting goals, forming a plan of action and taking the proper steps everyday to make them a reality might be easier said then done. The struggle is in aiming at an end goal beyond the immediate action. By sharing the goals with your unit, you have given them all a piece of the success and have now motivated them to move forward with you.
WARNING: This does not happen overnight.
As I expand and add to this site, I will share stories and tricks I have learned over this twenty years, but in the meantime, you can start today. Pick one goal, something that is weekly in your house. Getting the laundry room re-organized may be that goal. Now sit with your unit and discuss what that is going to take.
Have them each give you estimate on how long it should take. Ask them how fast they think it can be done. Discuss a plan of action as if you were going in to find Bin Laden… when will make entry? Who goes in first? Who will run the washing machine? Who is going to fold? Do we have someone that can handle the floor and sweeping? Assign the individual missions that are all a part of the main mission and deploy.
Don’t forget, part of this concept is “leave”. Once the mission is reported to be successfully completed, your unit member can go on leave. That may be 30 minutes on a tablet or 60 minutes on the trampoline.
Watch what happens.
I found that when you try to press your family into a mold someone else created, it is like trying to put a toddler in a stock pot.
Once we began to have briefings and strategic meetings, our lives changed. Each change brought a sense of belonging and pride.
You will know the morning you wake up to noises in the yard because your middle child has decided she wants some free time later in the day and has chosen to complete her missions early.
Getting the laundry room reorganized may be that goal. Now sit with your unit and discuss what that is going to take. Have them each give you estimate on how long it should take. Ask them how fast they think it can be done.
Assign the individual missions that are all a part of the main mission and deploy.