Learning lessons about myself as I teach my son to drive

My son has his temporary driving license, and for the past several months, he and I have been spending hours of time driving per the requirements to get his official license.  He dragged his feet in the beginning and wasn’t really interested in getting his license, but after a lot of practice, I think he’s developing into a really good and confident driver.

I expected to enjoy my time teaching him how to drive. The two of us spend a lot of time together in the car as I drive him to and from the 45+ minutes from our house to his school.  What I didn’t expect is to learn about myself and who I am through his observations of my teaching.

One such insightful comment came from him last week and it made me feel so good about myself that I wanted to compose a little post about it on my long neglected blog.

As we drive along, I give him a running commentary from the passenger seat about how fast to go, or where to turn at the next light or stop sign, or that he’s either too close on one side or should slow down or go a bit faster, etc.  It’s not that I am constantly talking. He often asks for the above information as he’s driving along. We’ve had a great time together, and I’ve enjoyed teaching him how to drive. 

Being an engineer, I don’t just tell him, this is a 25 mile and hour zone, or this area is reduced speed, I give him the whole reason why different roads are marked how they are, etc.  I’ve never just taught him in an “I said so” sort of way. I have always told him and his sister the “why” about things.

Earlier this week, as we were going through a residential area, he made a comment about my running commentary. He thought it was so very like me to tell him what I did. I was telling him to make sure he drove 25 mph in the residential area  because there might be people around and we don’t want to accidentally hurt someone, rather than telling him that he might get a ticket if he exceeded the speed limit especially in a residential area. He loved that my reasoning involved making the world a better place, rather than just trying not to get into trouble.

And with this observation my son gave me perhaps one of the greatest gifts he could give me. He summed up for me that he saw in me who I hoped I actually was. I have always tried to do the right thing because it was the right thing, not because I would get into trouble if I didn’t. I try to live each day trying to make the world better for my having been there, rather than just trying to stay out of trouble.  My son let me know that I am living what I hope to be. I am modeling the person I am trying to be.  It says a great deal about him, as well. He observes people and really sees them as they are.

I will miss these driving lesson days.

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