Benefits of engagement
Involving the family in truck maintenance will help them understand the challenges of life on the road
NOW CHRISTMAS IS OVER, the hustle and bustle from before Christmas just stops, while it seems the whole nation goes on holiday for the entire month of January. But that does not prevent the bills coming in, and your payments still have to be made, and it also seems that the family requires more from you and you are torn in every direction.
Whichever way you look at this time of year, never forget the most important thing is friends and family. The whole Christmas period is about spending time with your loved ones, eating loads of food and drink, enjoying games together, and creating moments you can cherish your whole life.
Your truck is parked in the backyard within range of all the activity, and your mind keeps going over what you need to do before you hit the road again. It is time to spare a thought for your kids, and you know that they have got all the free time in the world and that they actually miss their dad while you are away, but have to “put up” with mum when she is stressed with all the things she is “just holding together”.
When you engage your family in the maintenance of the truck, you can get the small kids (boys and girls) to run the errands like “go and get this spanner” or “get that container”. It makes them feel important and that they are “helping” dad. It is in your best interest to teach them what you know; this is your responsibility as a parent. It will either encourage them to follow you in your footsteps or motivate them to do something entirely different. Either way, you are teaching them a good work ethic.
Encourage your partner to help you. Make it a time for you to communicate so she understands some of the challenges that you face on a day-to-day basis. Explain the maintenance procedure as you check the brakes, linings, boosters and drums to ensure that they are working in harmony with the truck’s braking system and that it is well lubricated and in good condition.
This is not only making sure you are safe, but you are also helping your wife or partner understand where the money is going and she knows that her mate is driving up and down the highway in a reliable truck.
Other components on the truck and trailer that you can check and teach your partner and family are things like the trailer kingpin, rubbing plate, wheel alignment, electrics and landing gear. Your teenage children can check the kingpins and airbags for wear and get them to help you replace them, if worn. Or if the semi-trailer rubbing plate is scored, buckled or badly worn which it will also have to be replaced.
RIGHT AND WRONG
Encourage your family to be involved. It takes patience and practice, and I guarantee things won’t go smoothly and you will have discussions about what is right and what is wrong. Just because they have another way of looking at life, doesn’t necessarily mean it is wrong, just different.
Keep an eye on the wheel alignment of your truck and trailers. Poor tyre and wheel alignment can shorten tyre life by thousands of kilometres. It also can compromise very crucial steering and suspension parts and that is a big hit to your back pocket, which directly affects your family life.
When your tyres are out of alignment, you might as well be throwing $50 notes out the window as you drive down the highway.
Other things that the family can assist with is checking the electrical couplings, fittings, and wiring, but you must teach them patiently so they can understand what they are looking at and why it is not right. This may help to avert any serious damage, especially on late model trucks that are fitted with advanced electronics.
With the weather being so hot, have a water fight as you wash the truck and make it a fun adventure. Have a competition to see who can get their chrome the brightest and shiniest. Enjoy the time you have together as it won’t be long and then you are gone again.
How about in a role reversal, heaven forbid? You could also cook some meals or help your partner do the laundry as these chores are as essential as changing the oil in the “big girl”.
Getting the truck back on the road and holding your family together is the reward of your livelihood.
If this is just all too hard and you have reached the point of burnout, it’s probably going to take more than just a few days off to solve the issue. If you can’t see a way to take significant steps and be able to reduce the amount of stress you’re facing, you may need to draw on support from other people, including health professionals. The beyondblue support service can help point you in the right direction. You can contact them on1300 22 4636 or www.beyondblue.com.au.
I am also pleased to offer you a 30-minute free discovery session where we can talk about “what is your plan, so everything doesn’t fall back to you” in your business. Or we can go deeper into your business, your fears, your story or your battles within these 30 minutes. It is up to you and guesses what, and it’s absolutely free!
“It makes them feel important and that they are ‘helping’ dad.”