Last week I experienced something that five years ago I didn’t think I’d ever experience again. Any guesses? Nope. Nope. And Nope. Let me satisfy your curiosity. I’m talking about Driver’s Ed and everything that comes with it. I walked into the required parent orientation expecting to sit through it and appear to dutifully listen and nod in all the right places. After all, I’ve been through this twice already, right! Nope. Nope. And Nope. Things have changed!
I think the most astonishing thing I heard was that this is the first generation of drivers that has never had to look out the window of a car. What? How is that possible? Let me share my new found enlightenment. As babies, they had mobiles on their car seats. Next they had hand-held games and videos in the back of the head rests. After that they had cell phones and electronic devices. Each of these took their eyes away from the windows and focused on what was right in front of them. Looking back I can see this.
A video clip from The Simpsons lead off the evening followed by a request that Dads not notify their kids that today’s drive would be on the freeway AS they are merging onto said freeway. I smirked and said, “That would be me.” I heard no argument from beside me.
Next was, “Please don’t yell while they are driving. It doesn’t help their stress level.” I promised to only yell when he was in the process of wrecking the car. Mutual agreement was met.
But the best part of the evening was when the instructor shared the recurring statement, “But I’m good at Mario Cart and Need for Speed, so why is driving so hard?” I immediately got a very sincere and solemn apology. Why? Just three hours earlier I picked him up my teenager sporting his Intermediate Driver’s License from school and he told me, “I’ve driven with my mom in the school parking lot twice and I feel like I’ve got a good handle on this driving thing.”
“Really?” I replied as I drove right past our house.
“Where are we going?”
My, “Driving,” was met with instantaneous panic. I took him to a nearby park, parked the car and said, “Drive me home.”
We spent the next fifteen minutes teaching him how to back out of a parking space. We got to the entrance of the park and I asked him, “Are you ready to hit the road?”
He looked me in the eye and said, “Nope. You made your point.”
I smiled, “Good answer, ” as we changed seats and I drove us home.
I don’t think Boyd was very enthusiastic about my teaching methods, but there is a new respect for driving in our home that didn’t involve an accident, anyone getting hurt, or anything getting damaged.
I’m happy to report that this morning as he drove to Early Morning Seminary, by way of side roads, he kept within the speed limit, mostly within his lane, and he elicited only one outburst from me as I mistakenly thought he was going to ram the sidewalk as he pulled into his parking spot. Luckily we were the second car to arrive, so there were few witnesses to my loss of composure or the rebirth of my passenger side shriek.
Peggy – #4