Stay the Course...Behind the Truck Drivers

(Less than 3 minutes read)

My husband likes to say he is a professional driver. He is in a sales career and he puts about 40,000-50,000 miles on his car every year. It is not uncommon for him to drive six hours round trip in a day for work. Two times a week. I know it is crazy to those of us who live our daily lives in a five mile radius (me included), but it works for our family and he does it that way so he can limit how often he spends the night out of our home. Anyway, he has been in sales all 14 years of our married life and although I have gotten used to the idea of him being on the road daily and staying on the defense against lunatic drivers, there are still days I get a bit anxious, especially when the weather turns bad.

It is common for me to say, “don’t you get nervous about all the crazy people out there sharing your lane – or just casually driving into your lane unaware…?!?” He always says the same thing: he has learned to follow the truck drivers. He picks one that is travelling 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.”


What a great analogy for life and for us who are trying to do it well, all the while trying to put our defense up against the crazy 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. (OR the person we have to roll down our window for so we can yell at them while our kids anxiously await what we are about to say because we see them on an iPad ON THEIR STEERING WHEEL!!)

So we are all living this life, driving along, and people come into it who rattle us, make us question our own moves, or bring out the worst in us (iPad example...). It is a tough job being a parent today when we are bombarded with so much “craziness” whether it is making our schedule work for our family, trying to figure out which cleaning products aren’t going to make our kids grow an extra ear or something, or making sure our kids are surrounded by good and trustworthy friends. 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.

It doesn’t matter if you are a stay-at-home mom – or dad – or you work full time or you do a little of both. I know that 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 somehow, we have a great way of making ourselves feel guilty about everything – from tiny to large matters. From forgetting to send in the form for the now sold out event at school (oops! Guilty. More than once.) or yelling at our children all morning when we really knew all along it was our own fault everyone was running late. What about choosing to go out on a date with our husband or friends when we could have stayed home with the kids. Or allowing our children to be influenced by a friend that we knew wasn’t right for them.

Those things will never go away and I think it’s completely normal and healthy to question and evaluate how we are raising our families. In fact, it is necessary or we’d never be able to measure our success. But I do believe there is a good balance in the whole matter. And who knew? 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 a family that can be our truck driver and help us stay the course.

What I mean by this is to think about one or two families who 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 I am talking about. 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. You will be grateful you have someone to guide you and lead you along the way because it’s pretty scary doing it on your own and feeling threatened by everyone else driving along around you. So go out and find your truck driver, and stay the course.

Jennifer Zumbiel