This One Trick will Help You Stay the Course as a Parent


(2 1/2 minute read)

My husband came home a few weeks ago and told us about the latest car accident he witnessed. The one where he thought the SUV was going to cross the interstate and come slamming into him. Instead, she turned the wheel at the last second and flipped her car five times the other direction and off into a ditch. (He drove over to make sure she was fine and miraculously she was.) 

This is just one of many unbelievable driving incidents my sales-career-husband gets to live through as he drives 40,000 miles per year.

Yes, it makes me anxious; especially when the weather turns bad. I am constantly asking him how he handles it with all the ridiculous drivers on the road. 

He always says the same thing: he has learned to follow the truck drivers. He picks one that is traveling at a nice speed and stays behind them. “They know the road, they typically drive well, and the average person stays out of their way. I just do what they do.”

It seems like such a simple way to navigate our "lane" rather than trying to put up our defense against the distracted driver flying up in our rearview mirror, or the person who merges into our lane without looking, or just the weather that takes a turn for the worse. 

What if we apply the same principle to parenting?

It is a full time job raising a family that stays the course we have in place, one where true values are built, character is instilled, and teachable moments are not wasted. We drive along and inevitably people come by who rattle us, make us question our own moves, or bring out the worst in us. We are bombarded with so much that seems to threaten or make us question our decisions. 

It doesn’t matter if you stay at home or you work full time or you do a little of both. Our minds are working full time on every aspect of how we are raising and building our family and if we are doing it well. And we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it right.

Those things will never go away and it's a necessary part of measuring our success. But maybe the answer lies in those truck drivers.

Just like finding a good experienced truck driver on the road who knows it well, who has dealt with every situation out there, and who is going to maintain confidence, we need to find another FAMILY that can be our truck driver and help us stay the course.

Think about one or two families whom you know are doing it right, doing it well, and the proof is in the children they are raising and the values they are living. 

Ask them what they do. 

Borrow their best practices and their techniques. 

Ask what family “rules” they have for everything from household chores, to discipline, to living their faith at home. 

You know what kind of family this is. They seem so confident. They don’t care what anyone thinks of them. They are strong in their faith. They have children that get along. Why is it working?

We need those families to guide us. They have already driven the road and figured out what to do. They are not intimidated by those around them who are making questionable decisions and driving them off the road. And chances are these families are actually following other families. 

So really it’s about good families building good families and passing it on. Find someone to guide you and lead you along the way down your lane if you haven't already. Go out and find your own truck driver, and stay the course.

Jennifer Zumbiel