Driving Lessons

Hayden has his California driver's permit and he is busy chalking up hours of practice with me in the passenger seat. The view from this side of the car is new and very different. Here are a few thoughts I've had:

- Some parents never let their kids behind the wheel. They spend the entire time driving the car and telling their kids how to drive and what to do, but they spend very little time actually letting their kids drive. "Soon," they say. "You are not quite ready." Then, at some point, they put their kid behind the wheel and send them off, driving on their own.

- Some parents let their kids drive, but only on back-country roads. No threats. The road is smooth and straight with few curves and the hope that they never see another car!

- Some parents let their kids drive, but they keep a hand on the steering wheel and a foot on the brake the entire time. This way if a threat appears, the parent can pull or stop the car to prevent their child from having an accident.

- Some parents just sit in the passenger seat and ignore them. All they want to do is get through the required hours. They never intervene. They have nothing to offer their child as they venture down the road.

I don't want to be any of those parents.

I want to be the parent that prepares his kids for the road. I want to sit down in the car next to my kids and talk about the drive as it is happening. I want to warn them about obstacles and threats that approach. I want to use my experience to tell them when they are driving too fast or too slow. I want to remind them when they are getting too close to the cars in front of them, too close to the edge of the road, or when they didn't stop in time for a red light.

I also want to be there when they make their first few mistakes. I want to help them see where their actions and a failure to heed a warning led to a problem. Like I said, I want to prepare my children for the road.

It is an entirely different experience and there are times it has been scary. I know that I am not going to be in the passenger seat forever. Soon enough, the training will be complete and my children will be driving all over the place without me in the car with them. For now, I am enjoying my time next to Hayden as he learns to drive the car.

I am sure that by now you know this post has very little to do with driving lessons and much more to do with my children learning to navigate their way through life. What a blessing it has been to travel the path with them!

Quietly Making Noise,
Fletch