Army Ranger Rules for Parenting

"Don’t forget nothing." When Major Robert Rogers organized the Army Rangers in 1756, he established his 19 Standing Orders.  These were simple common sense rules for victory and survival. Some other unedited examples are:

  • When you’re on a march, act the way you would if you was sneaking up on a deer. 
  • See the enemy first.
  • You can lie all you please when you tell other folks about the Rangers, but don’t never lie to a Ranger or officer.
After nearly three decades of training and leading soldiers, I truly believe Major Rogers’ Standing Orders are one of the distinct disciplines that lead to victory.

Hungry, stressed and sleep-deprived Army Rangers instinctively survive because of ingrained principles they’ll always follow.

That’s why I apply my own set of standing orders when I am in another stressed and sleep deprived environment where victory is key to not just my survival, but to the survival of all around me.

That is pretty much any time my two-year old son, Ranger, is around.  I call these my Daddy Ranger Rules.  I hope you can use them, too.

 Daddy Ranger Rules

Ray & RangerNever assume you are the only leader on this mission.

If you are the one who spends the majority of time with your little warrior, it’s easy to feel a sense of entitlement in decision-making.  However, this is the quickest way to get other leaders to start questioning your authority.

Other leaders come with very notable titles like “Mom” or “Grandma.”  These people feel a very real connection and personal interest, just like you.

It’s a good practice to bring other leaders affected by your ideas to the council table prior to implementation. A unit with conflicting leaders will never run effectively or decisively.  The first to notice is always the troops.


Everyone can panic, except you.

In a crisis, it’s easy for everyone to get emotional. The finest of units can quickly become unraveled, but only if you (as the leader) allow it.

Keep your cool and remain level headed.  Take control of the situation by making calm statements and give clear instructions to those around you. Situations of crisis need calm leaders, not drama queens.

So, whether it’s the expensive broken vase, a cup of spilled milk on the curtains, or the un-walked dog that just pooped on the rug  - bring it into perspective, regroup the team and move out as a more seasoned patrol.

Fun is a group mission.

The most respected leaders are the ones who make time for their troops, even when they don’t have to. It makes your troops feel they’re important and not just an obligation.  In that respect, there is a difference between sending your child outside to have fun and taking your little warrior outside for fun.

You are always on guard duty.

Like the soldier who takes point on a line patrol, your senses need to be just a little keener than everyone else.  The unknown is the unknown and you can’t always plan for it.  That doesn’t alleviate your responsibility to be ready for it.

Others can ignore speeding cars in the street, stray dogs, broken glass on the sidewalk or strangers lurking about. For you that gamble is too risky.

Fear is never silly to one who feels it.

A frightened child only knows that something doesn’t feel right.  Real or imagined, they’re looking for security.  Like anyone who needs help, they’re looking for someone to listen, understand and respond.  Security comes from trust and belief.  There is no one your little warrior should trust and believe in more than you.

Know that you are always being watched.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It’s also the quickest way to have your imperfections become part of another generation.

No one is perfect and it would be ridiculous to think you could reach or maintain that standard.  However, if you’ve ever whished you could go back in time, act differently and evolve into a better person – you can. You’ll do it vicariously through your child.

Work hard to be fair, kind, honest and less judgmental.  Even if you’re not always successful, your little warrior will notice the importance you place on those qualities.  That says something.

Never forget you’re the luckiest person in the world.

Self explanatory!


Ray Cordell is the author of Airborne Bunny, a children’s book based on a stuffed animal that has accompanied generations of America’s finest to war. Airborne Bunny now uses his specialized training and skills to protect children who are afraid of being alone in their room.  Take a look here.

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