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From Siege2Surge: Daybreak

The “grinder” is a stretch of black asphalt familiar to every aspiring Navy SEAL who is lucky enough to be accepted into the BUD/S boot camp. On it he does grueling daily physical training (PT) evolutions, hits the wall of his limits, and continues on. His trainers berate and indiscriminately punish him, and if he has what it takes to be an elite warrior, he will drive through. In Hell Week, he will face battle conditions for five days on a combined four hours of sleep.


“HooYah, HooYah, HooYah, HEY! Today's gonna be another easy day!” some of them chant as they return to the grinder. Here is where the glasseaters are made — and where all a quitter (known as a “non-qual”) has to do is “ring out” by striking the nearby brass bell three times … never to become a SEAL.

If you’re a dad, then you are on the grinder … every day. Welcome to Siege2Surge. This is the first in a six-part series that trains you as a dad on how to debark from your deadly comfort zone. With six Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) — executed in six minutes throughout the day — you will learn to engage the real enemy, put your wife first, form your children in faith, and lead your family as a force for spreading the Gospel in the world.

Calling “time out” in combat is never an option.

But too many dads right now are off in the ozone; their heads aren’t in the battle. The assets may be on the ground; theirs butts may be on the couch; the paychecks are coming home, but these dads have been compromised. The “tactics of the devil” and his “principalities” (Ep 6:11-12) are laying siege to their infiltrated homes; their families are harassed constantly by enemy fire. If you could see their homes through the spiritual equivalent of night-vision goggles, you would see only conflagration, hotbeds of enemy activity and a complete absence of resistance.

These are the “fragile families” where the dad is MIA, checked-out or generally ignorant of his SOPs, and where an emerging “science of fatherhood” is documenting with precision the kinds of outcomes his kids will likely own: “lower rates of high school and college graduation, higher risk of delinquency, early sexual activity, teen pregnancy, and poor mental, physical and emotional health” (cf. Inst. for Family Studies).

But that’s not you. That’s not your home. Because you are an elite warrior — entrusted with honoring your wife and protecting your family — and you are calling for a surge. You have stepped out onto the grinder.

Your first SOP is to begin the day in prayer. It may be one minute; it may be five or more; but it has to happen. Cut back on your beauty sleep, get out of your rack and drop to your knees. Find your prayer chair in the pre-dawn dark. Show that you’ve got your wife’s back by asking God to give her strength, grace and peace for the day. Open Scripture, pray with it and be surprised by the peace you find. Surrender to your Creator and then allow Him to crank up your OPTEMPO (operational tempo). Without this SOP you are rushing to the frontlines with no ammunition and endangering your platoon. Skip this SOP and you will answer to your CO (commanding officer) for the feckless way you send your family into battle, vulnerable and unprotected.

But that’s not all.

Part II of your first SOP is to lead your family in a brief moment of prayer at the outset of the day. The “morning offering” is ideal; consider the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and a Hail Mary. Don’t overcomplicate it. This SOP requires quiet professionalism and sustainability, not fireworks: slow and steady, grunt. There are miles to go before you sleep. Conclude with a simple blessing: “May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be upon you (your wife; your children) and remain with you always,” as you trace the sign of the cross on their foreheads. If you can’t do this in person, dial in.

Welcome to Siege2Surge. The day is only a few hours old and already you’ve executed the first of your six SOPs. You’ve resisted the day’s first siren calls to ring out as a non-qual. The sun is still low in the eastern sky but you’ve already received orders from headquarters, honored your wife, led your family in prayer and blessed them. Things are looking up. The surge is on.

“Today’s gonna be another easy day!”

Johnson is the bishop’s delegate for evangelization.










© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017