One of the challenges in navigating a discussion about parenting… there are so many issues.  How can you tackle them all?

That’s why Reggie and I are so excited about sharing a strategy for parenting.  We’ll build the dialogue on this blog around five family values that we’ll talk about frequently – widen the circle, imagine the end, fight for the heart, create a rhythm and make it personal. We hope to be able to discuss every day practical issues within the context of these broader values.

I hope these values might function like the advice my dad gave me when he was teaching me how to drive.  I remember the first time I actually drove down a country road as a teenager. I was nervous. First, I was driving an old ’69 Buick. Those things weren’t exactly nimble.  Second, I was, well, not exactly 16 yet. And third, I saw a ditch to my right and an oncoming car to my left.  My attention was divided between the dashboard, the pedals, the ditch and the car, and I was nervous.  I remember turning to my dad and saying “Dad, how can I possibly handle all these factors competing for my attention at once? How can I keep the car where it needs to be?”

He said something to me I’ll never forget.  “Just look at the horizon Carey. Look at where you ultimately want the car to go and just focus on that. Your peripheral vision will sort out the ditch, the oncoming traffic and everything else.”

I thought that was a crazy idea. But I tried it. And he was right – it worked.

I’m hoping that these five values can help us as parents develop a strategy. The truth is, I still end up with lots of surprises and unexpected twists in my journey as a parent. Every time my wife Toni and I think we’ve figured out one issue in parenting, a new one emerges. It never ends. But I hope these family values will serve as a focal point on the horizon that can help us navigate all of these issues and more. It’s a strategy that, in dealing with the big things, helps us overcome the little things.

That’s why I think the number one thing parents need is an overall strategy.  How about you?  Do you agree?  If so, do you have one?  What would you call it?