Sunday, January 29, 2012

Monday Funday—Surviving Driver's Ed (Again): A True Story

I picked up my fifteen year old son from school. When he got into the car, he announced, "I can drive now."

Having been through this with his older sister, I saw the teachable moment and tried to lean into it. "Just because the state of Illinois gives you a permit and says you can now start driving with your parents in no way means that you can actually drive."

Unrelenting, my son spit back, "I'm a great driver."

Just as unrelenting, I shot back, "Driving the riding lawn mower at home in the yard and driving a car between the lines without actually hitting another car, stationary object, or a person are two different things."

"But I took a test in Driver's Ed today and passed. See, I'm a great driver," he affirmed waving a piece of paper in his hands.

"Passing a written driving test in a classroom in no way whatsoever means that you can actually drive a real car on a real road with other real cars around you. Really."

Then he threw down the challenge. He played the ace in his hand. "What's wrong old man? Afraid my driving is better than yours?"

The teacher/trainer in me kicked in. You see, when the learner is not getting the obvious point, the teacher/trainer may opt for "creative" teaching measures. This would be a good time to call his bluff and attempt to bring him back to reality. I calmly pulled the car over into a McDonald's parking lot. Put it into park. Got out and walked around to the passenger side front door. Opened it and said, "Let's go Mr. World's-Greatest-Driver-whose-never-actually-driven-a-car-before. Show me what you've got." 

He looked stunned, but he quickly got out his seat and situated himself behind the driver's side of the car. He adjusted the seat, the mirrors, and fascended his seatbelt. So far so good. Then he stopped and looked down at the floor for what seemed an inordinate amount of time. I entertained the thought that he might be praying. Then suddenly he looked up at me with complete seriousness and asked, "Now which one of these pedals is the brake?"

I rest my case.



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