When I got my driver’s license as a young sixteen-year-old, I couldn’t wait to drive. I didn’t care that the car was our family sedan and that anything over 55 mph and the car would start to shake and shimmy. The car and my driver’s license, a small card that had my name and indicated that I had passed a driver’s test, represented freedom. As long as I had both, I could go anywhere I wanted and do anything I wanted. The boundaries were ripped up and thrown out the window. Now in reality, I had to be back before by 11 o’clock, but in my mind, the options were endless.
Of course, before I left the house, my mom would always tell me to watch out for other drivers and stay within the speed limit. And most importantly, before handing me her keys, she’d always tell me to “be safe.”
Like I was going to do anything else.
In a few weeks, my son will be 16 and, when the local state department of transportation license office reopens after closing for COVID-19, he will go for his learner’s permit. He’s watched his sister and brother both come before him. To top it off, he’s watched as most of his friends have turned 16 and are already driving. He’s chomping at the bit.
I’ve taken him out a few times on parking lots over the past couple of years to pass along some guidance and to help get him ready. Oh, he’s ready. He’s got the right temperament, a good sense of when to take it easy and when to push down on the gas. He’s smart too. He’s great about being defensive and expecting other’s moves.
So, I really don’t have a lot of fears. After seeing two other drivers though to the finish line, my wife and know who the better teacher is and it isn’t me. She’s got the patience in the family.
Saying all that, I’m excited for my son. I’m excited because I know he’ll appreciate the freedom of driving just like I did.
Of course, this time I’ll be the one telling the fresh, new driver to to keep his eyes on the road, to watch for other drivers, and to keep the car within the speed limit.