Driver’s Ed

What don’t you want to be when you grow up? I knew from the time I was 16 that I didn’t want to be a Driver’s Ed instructor. In those days, they smoked an awful lot of cigarettes while in the passenger (co-pilot) seat. No wonder! What a horrible job! It’s as death-defying and thankless as any, and most of the time is spent with 16 year olds. The service that they provide though, is an hour a week relief to parents. Most teens will not be terribly insolent to an official driving instructor.

The Driver’s Ed part of parenting was one of the most difficult times. Well…..not the Driver’s Ed per se…..that was the relief. It was the rest of the time in the car with teenage kids the year prior to the license, and post license (waiting for their safe return, preferably without scratches or dents to them or to the car). I was particularly tense during those times (years).

Recently, I was thinking about that question that James Lipton asks at the end of “Inside the Actors’ Studio” from the Bernard Pivot questionnaire: What profession would you not like to do? And I still reacted with: Driver’s Ed Instructor. Then I thought about how perfect that is.

Some new drivers seem oblivious. They have enjoyed being passengers, and want the freedom of being drivers, but never considered all that must be taken into account. Others are afraid of the power. They are so fearful of causing an accident or of making a mistake, that they not only make more mistakes, but create a fearful environment for those next to them as well . Still others are exhilarated by the power and the energy and the sense of freedom that comes with driving. They may need more reminders about caution, and to slow down. It’s always an adjustment, though. Sometimes, even for those who are quickly comfortable behind the wheel, and have an innate calm and good depth perception and quick instincts, there is still a bit of adjustment. They not only need to fit comfortably and see accurately, but like learning to dance with a partner, coordinate the footwork and accelerate and brake with proper timing and emphasis. Everyone must make the proper adjustments and practice, practice, practice.

As educators and parents, we are all Driving Instructors! We provide the rules and the basic techniques. We brief our kids on speed limits and safety features. We remind them to check rear view mirrors and blind spots, and tell them to always keep their eyes on the road!

I guess we are also accountants and consultants and waste managers and……

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