Cut 'Em Some Slack. OK?
By Randall C. Resch
Having been a tow owner, I know the rigors, pressures and stresses involved in all aspects of towing life—including parenting. I wanted to share with you an interesting conversation I had with two teenagers outside Seattle about what it was like growing up in their parent's business.
I was mortified that the daughter complained openly that, "My parents weren't there for me," or, "I drove a beat-up Honda when my friends had Beemers and Benzes." From the son, "Dad never came to my games," and, "He didn't care about me; work was more important."
The towing and recovery industry is a tough row to hoe. Running a tow company isn't an absentee business, and it's very difficult to put aside calls to attend kid, sport and school functions.
Kids, be tolerant of your parents and cut 'em some slack, especially when they're doing what they can to assure that you're cared for. It's not that they don't care or don't want to be there for you; your on-going welfare is their never-ending obligation.
I remember working some wreck 30 miles from home on Christmas morning, and sometimes I wasn't there to see the birthday candles being blown out. But, we pulled together and celebrated missed events by creating "Do Over Days;" we celebrated with the same excitement and importance, but on different days.
Remembering back to my 13th birthday, I celebrated the fact I'd come of age to be part of our family business. Without having need or greed for fancy cars or demanding more of my parents' time, I immersed myself excitedly into the business intentionally so I could spend more time with my parents. Sure there were times my parents couldn't be where I wanted them to be, but they made their absence up in other ways.
It's important for parents and kids to meet each other somewhat in-the-middle. On one hand parents, find creative ways to spend time with your kids committing time for outings and quiet times at home. Kids, remember raising kids "ain't no easy task." It takes time, effort and a boatload of cash to keep a home over everyone's head.
Sometimes it was all I could do to sneak away from work when drivers didn't show or my dispatcher called in sick. I wanted to be there, but work circumstances didn't make it possible. My kids knew that.
As my parents have long since passed, I look back with fond memories of working with them in their business. I realize that it was their loss too, especially for dad. Getting past his gruff exterior was never an easy task, but he'd sometimes look over and give me a silent wink of approval. That spoke volumes to me.
To you Seattle kids, be thankful and not bitter for the blessings you've been bestowed by your parents.
Remember, they've sacrificed much for you whether it's apparent or not.Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operation's Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line. Randall was inducted into the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame in 2014.