I’ve reached that point in my life that all fathers dread — teaching your child to drive. I’m pretty convinced that the bulk of parental grey hair is because of this time of life. Don’t get me wrong — she’s doing great as a driver but that doesn’t mean it’s easy on me.
One of the things I recall about my experience learning to drive is a comment my father made over and over. He’d always tell other folks to watch out on the sidewalks as I was coming by, implying that I was going to run them over. On the sidewalk. Cute.
I think I’ve been extremely patient with my daughter during this time of angst and I think she’s doing okay learning to drive. It’s scary though, especially for someone not particularly fond of sitting in the passenger seat, regardless of who’s driving. I’m not sure why I don’t like being a passenger; it’s probably a control thing with me. I like to be in control of the situation and sitting in the passenger seat means that I’m not.
One of the things that I emphasize to my daughter is that she should be humble about the entire driving experience. The effect of 3500 pounds of vehicle slamming into a 120 pound body is devastating. She got a small taste of that possibility when two deer jumped out in front of us as she was driving. Fortunately she hit the brakes, but a van nearly hit us from behind. A copper pipe from a rack on top of the van slid forward and bounced against one of the windows of the car, but we thought that he actually hit the back bumper. Fortunately, no harm was done, but it was effective in making the point about the seriousness of driving. Maybe that experience will help her become a better driver. Maybe all kids need an experience like that. A brush with death or injury. But just a brush; no death or injury actually required.