Advice from a truck driving dad and his daughter

Jason Gilreath with daughter Dora Gilreath.

Advice from a truck driving dad and his daughter

I grew up with a truck driver father. This was both a rewarding and difficult experience for both myself and my father. I didn’t get to see him as often as I wanted to. However, we still tried to connect in many ways and still do to this day. 

Even though my two siblings and I are grown, our dad still finds time to talk to us. 

Prime Inc. employs thousands of fathers. While my father, Jason Gilreath, wasn’t a driver for Prime Inc, he still experienced what it’s like to juggle work and fatherhood as a driver. In a recent phone conversation with my father, he provided some advice for Prime Inc. drivers of all ages.

Figure out what your priorities are 

While growing up in a household with three kids, Dad said that “God, family, my career, and myself,” were his priorities. “I put God first. He knows my situation. I trust in the Lord with all my heart. God guides my steps. He knows you need to make a living, and you need to get home. Things will work out. Don’t let the job come before the family.” Being a parent can end up being a balancing act at times, but finding out what your priorities are can help bring stability to your life.  

Make sure your partner and kids have a network of people on whom to rely

“As far as the kids go, you’ve got to make a living and be a provider,” he remarked. “Make sure before you do that, your wife has a network of people or even other truck driving moms or wives.  Make sure she’s around a network of people that can help her with the kids and talk to her.” 

One way Prime families can network is by connecting with others at places you already go (this can be work, school, or even the grocery store) and organize or attend activities, such as a neighborhood barbecue or a group trip to a local entertainment venue. 

Stay connected with loved ones

My dad said that with older kids especially, texting is the way to go. However, he emphasized the importance of talking on the phone if you can, because you can connect with a voice. 

“It’s more personable with a voice. We’ve kind of gotten away from that through texting, but it’s more personable with a voice.” he said. He also suggested writing your questions and high points of being on the road down so you can ask your family about specific things. 

Find common ground

Finding common ground and things to talk about is another aspect of staying meaningfully connected while over the road. Both my sister and I send pictures of cute animals, either ones we own or ones our friends have. My dad and I bond over wrestling, and every week, we get to talk about the most recent matches or pay-per-views. Watching the same movies is another way we’ve bonded. 

“A lot of the time I ask questions, but it’s not to be nosy or condescending,” Dad said, “it’s to fish for something to talk about. Look for ways to stay in touch.”

Embrace the role of the provider

“Your mom got to raise you, and I got to provide for you,” Dad said while discussing his truck driving career. “It’s hard to raise a family over the road. I worked long hours, so I looked forward to vacations and the times I did get to spend with the kids.” 

He did his best to spend as much time as he could with my siblings and me growing up. “That’s the trade-off. With things being so expensive, you’ve gotta provide. That’s what’s important: Making sure everybody’s happy. You’ve gotta be that good provider.”

When I was a kid, I had no concept of time or money. I didn’t quite understand the important role my father played in my life. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the efforts he took in making sure I had a roof over my head and food to eat. Even if your young kids don’t understand the concept of you being the provider right now, they surely will in the future. 

Look forward to both the quantity and the quality time

When it comes to spending time with your family, both quality and quantity are important. My dad embraces the concept of “quantity” time, saying that “it doesn’t matter what you’re doing as long as you’re doing something. If you’re reading a book, playing hide-and-seek, camping, or watching TV. It’s not what you’re doing, it’s how much time you’re spending with the ones you love.”

Learn from both your mistakes and your accomplishments. 

When it comes to raising a kid, my dad used the phrase “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” He said that you can give someone hindsight, but to remember that not every situation is the same. “You learn something new every day,” he remarked. 

Final words

Being a truck driver is no easy task, especially when you have a family, but it’s not impossible. “You can do it,” Dad said, “it just takes a little bit more effort.”


  • Dora Gilreath

    Dora joined the Good Dads team in 2024 and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in creative writing at Missouri State University. She grew up with a truck driving father and loves reading, writing and anything related to theater.

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