Tuesday, October 09, 2007

He's turning 16

My son turns 16 this Friday, and here in Massachusetts, that means he can get his driver's permit. He gets home from school at 2:30, and he's got it on the schedule to get the permit at 2:35. His plan is to then drive all weekend. With me in the passenger seat.

I've already told him that grabbing the car door or dashboard is an instinctive reaction and will not necessarily be an indication of my confidence in his driving. And that loud exclamations of the colorful variety may not mean that I'm actually upset. We'll then just have to go over that particular skill again.

Not that he hasn't driven already. Did I ever tell you about the time a couple months ago when I was out for the evening with a friend and he took the opportunity to use the spare car key to take a lap around the neighborhood? And subsequently lopped off the side view mirror as he attempted to re-enter our one-car garage. He has since paid me back for the damage, but still flinches whenever I back out of the garage.

I'm trying to figure out gradual steps of skill building that I can weave together with words of wisdom. It might be like Sunday school with a captive audience—I may never have another opportunity like this to impose good solid values. So I thought I'd ask all you parents out there who have done this already, what are good spiritual ideas that drivers should always have at hand? What lessons did you learn when teaching your kids how to drive? How can I pray to make this all go as smoothly as possible?

And, I hope you'll be in the spiritual backseat with me this weekend!

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 10/09/2007 08:10:00 AM, Blogger Remembering Truth said...

Thanks for your awesome blog about driving. I'm 18, and when I first started to drive... my dad always taught me to be "patient", "unemotional", and "loving".

He would ALWAYS tell me that I shouldnt drive if I was angry, upset, or frustrated... because it's reallly easy for "your frustration to overcome your focus on what you should be doing".

He would also always tell me to be a "defensive driver"... and NOT an "offensive driver". And by this he meant.... "you're NEVER in 'too much' of a hurry". A really good friend of mine (CS) told me this once when he was driving.. and some nut ran a red light and squeeled his tires... if he hadnt have stopped... he couldve hit the guy.

So I guess my point is this... my favorite personal spritual qualities that I always try to focus on (when driving specicfically) are "patience", "love", "repsonding", "unemotional", "principled", "joyous", "unreactionary", and "peaceful".

There's even a REALLY cool song that I like that "Incubus" talks about driving. He probably knows this song. It's called "Drive".

The chorus goes something like... "sometimes, I feel the fear of, uncertainty stinging clear/... and I can't help but ask myself how much I let the fear, take the wheel and steer./ It's driven me before, and seems to have a wa??? (dont member the word) causing mass appeal./ Lately, I beginning to find that when I drive myself my life is clear.

Whatever tomorrow, brings I'll be there.../
With open arms and open arms... yeah/
Whatever tomorrow, brings I'll be there.../
I'll be there......"

I LOVE that song.. cuz it's a LOT more than just "driving". It's all about not letting "fear" or "frustration" drive the "car" in our "lives".

Hope that helps?? Sorry.. I'm not a parent, but I've gone through the whole "being taught by a parent thingy" on how to drive... and that's what I've gotten out of it. Thanks to this... I've never gone over the speed limit... and I have never been pulled over by the cops. Which is always a good thing :-)!!!


P.S. Thanks again for this AWESOME post!! Say hi to your son for me, if he remembers me...

At 10/09/2007 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Kate said...

I remember sitting in the passenger seat when Hannah was leaning to drive...

as Faith Hill sings...

"Just breathe..."

It really helps...don't hold your breath...I found it helpful to remember that I don't have to wonder if I will have the wisdom to know how to breathe each moment...and that she had all the wisdom she needed to know when to ease into merging traffic, when to ease off the gas, when to surge gently forward into a crosswalk...

"just breathe"

love you...have fun...

At 10/09/2007 01:50:00 PM, Anonymous Emily said...

Love. I have two things I like to do in traffic (when I remember):

1. If someone cuts me off or makes a foolish move, of course I hit the brakes to keep from hitting him, but then I pause, mentally, and remember that he is not his mistake (rather than calling him a moron or whatever) and that God's children are always "cared for, watched over, loved, and protected," so neither he nor the drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians around him can be harmed by any mistakes he might make.

2. If someone makes an obscene gesture at me -- which happens occasionally -- I respond with a peace sign. It always makes me laugh, and it helps keep my thought elevated so I don't get upset or angry about the other person's rude behavior.

At 10/10/2007 02:00:00 AM, Anonymous RobertSF said...

One of my fondest memories of my father, with whom I was not close at all, was when I got my learner's permit and he let me drive on the turnpike for over 200 miles to pick up my brother from school. My father slept the whole way and that gave me more confidence and affection for him then anything else he could have done.

At 10/15/2007 10:04:00 PM, Anonymous my backyard said...

Good luck with the driving lessons!

At 10/17/2007 10:15:00 PM, Blogger kindli said...

For a variety of reasons I'm the one teaching my husband (of just over a year) how to drive (he lived in Boston for a few years and didn't need a car). It has been an adventure, I've learned to be patient, to breathe, and to remember God is in control (of me, of the car, of my husband's actions). There have been a few times when I tried not to cower in fear, or smash on the imiginary brakes. I'm learning the calmer I am the calmer my husband is, and the better his driving is. Good luck teaching your son how to drive... my mother-in-law is quite thrilled I'm teaching her son for her.


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