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September 10th, 2010

Our middle child – and only son – turns 16 today. That means this afternoon we’re heading to the Department of Public Safety where he’ll take his driver’s license test. As he’s spent a lot of hours behind the wheel since getting his learner’s permit, I’m confident he’ll pass in flying colors. (That’s assuming he can overcome the pesky parallel parking that trips up so many.)

The concern I have is putting a young man who’s growing up in the video game generation – where there’s always a reset button – on the road. It’s not so much I’m worried about how he’ll do. It’s all those folks who blow through stop signs, speed through changing lights and cut in and out of traffic like they’re late for claiming a lottery grand prize. Face it, driving is a lot different today than when I got my license nearly 35 years ago; although we definitely did our fair share of ‘what were we thinking’ things.

There are several parallels between driving and business. First, obviously you can’t just hit ‘start new game’ when things don’t go as planned. You have to get out the map and chart a new course. Second, there are a lot of road hazards, and you have to pay attention at every turn or someone or some thing may come shooting at you out of nowhere. Third, you’re going to make a few poor judgment calls, and all you can do is head to the repair shop, bang out the dent and get back on the road to success.

The best thing about having a son receive his driver’s license is he can now chauffeur our youngest to after-school activities… assuming,  of course, I actually ever let him leave the house.

[Prior to allowing our son to climb into the driver’s seat, we mutually agreed to abide by the guidelines below – and I referred back to them on several occasions. My apologies to the author for not remembering where on the Internet I found this; full credit belongs to him/her.]

Reminder Notes before I get in the car with my son…

> I love my son!

> My son loves me!

> If we are running late – don’t let him drive.

> If it is a really tough time to drive or we are going to an awkward destination, don’t let him drive.

> If he misses an instruction or doesn’t understand an instruction or is confused, the default is to go straight ahead or keep going.

> Any criticisms I make are not personal; they are about making improvements.

> I want him to be safe on the roads.

> There are to be no arguments about my criticisms until we have finished the drive. Then we can disagree!

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