Speaking of Being Afraid – Do You Have a Driving Teen Yet?

1 10 2007

Wanna talk about it?

I’ll start and then you feel free to jump in!
The NYT had this to say today, but it’s more about the money. I’m thinking about the “education” part — the actual learning of something so potentially life-and- death — which for us as unschoolers, looks like it’s DIY with no other choice.

Believe me, I’ve *tried* to find a way to get some objective professional to take this over for me! I mean the real driving, not memorizing the rule book and passing some test on the computer. We did that in a couple of days, but so what? There’s no relationship whatsoever between that and getting out on the road, really going places and arriving not just alive but unfrazzled and unscathed, not to mention uncited or indicted.

Do parents and schools have this one facet of education handled so well that no one offers it anywhere in our capital city, as a private service? All the so-called private driving schools are really quasi-public law enforcement dirty-work doers, detention halls for drunks and other scofflaws. And they don’t actually even teach THOSE guys to drive any better, they just make them sit in a classroom for more school stuff, some boring lectures and paperwork to prove you did your time before releasing you back into the wild.

From the moment you become a Thinking Parent, you can hire real-world professionals to help with any aspect of your growing child’s “education” from certified nannies complete with credentials and nannycams, all the way up to someone to write your child’s term papers and throw the graduation party, even do your gift shopping to mark the occasion, rent you the clothes to wear, and custom design jewelry to commemorate it all, and of course to get your child into an elite college and secure scholarships to pay for it all.

But a Thinking Parent can’t find anyone willing and qualified — not at any price! — to teach that same child a basic, virtually universal life skill of driving a car??

I’ll save for another day my rant about how poorly the current system of driver’s ed seems to have worked, for recent generations of teens. Suffice it to say, Favorite Daughter and I worry about taking our lives in our hands on the roads of this bustling university city with some reason. 🙂

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10 responses

1 10 2007
Alasandra

My sympathies.

I have successful taught son #1 to drive and am currently working on son #2 who has his learners permit.

1 10 2007
kim

Wow. No driving school anywhere? We’ve got tons here and whenever a new batch of teens gets to be the right age a mom will find the most preferred school and set up a homeschooling driving class. Not ideal but don’t those cars have two sets of steering and brakes? They did when i was a driver in training. That would give me some peace of mind….

2 10 2007
JJ

I envy you both! I’m a good driver myself and I try to point out what I’m doing but there seems to be so much more judgment in this than I remember, when I learned. (Or maybe I’m just too old for this!) Last night we were coming home from dance classes through an old narrow-streeted neighborhood, and suddenly a black man on a kid’s bicycle (no lights, dark clothes, no reflection) pooped out of some trees racing down a slope right in front of the car. Startled us both — of course I missed him, but would she? I think that’s what we were both thinking . . .

2 10 2007
JJ

Btw, in the “language is funny” department — I say I missed (hitting) him, because I didn’t miss (seeing) him. And worry that she would NOT have missed him, because she might’ve missed him! 🙂

2 10 2007
JJ

Once upon a time I loved to drive day or night, but my night vision sure isn’t what it used to be . . . I guess it doesn’t do much good to have great young eyes if you don’t quite know what to DO about what you see, to help yourself or anyone else. Maybe night vision is like most things, wasted on the young? 😉

From a TV ad, I learned that business travelers can rent a car with driver now, so that in strange cities, they can be planning their work and working their plan etc, instead of fighting the traffic and getting lost driving themselves around from call to call. There was a time I would’ve pooh-poohed this as Type A obsession, over-specialization or at least a waste of money. But now I’m thinking how nice it would be even for a family vacation, not to have Mom and Dad all caught up in the driving/navigating instead of enjoying the sights with the kids.

2 10 2007
JJ

I wonder if the rental chauffeur guys could be induced to give DRIVING LESSONS??

3 10 2007
Deanne

My 16yo son just got his license a couple weeks ago. He learned by driving us almost everytime we had to go somewhere during the year he had his permit. Now he’s driving BY HIMSELF, to work! Yes, I get nervous, but I am also so excited for him. Like you alluded to earlier, there is such a huge element of judgement with driving, that I don’t think anyone but experience can “teach” it. Good luck and enjoy the ride! 😉

3 10 2007
JJ

Deanne and the rest of y’all — did you put any sort of warning sign on the back of the car, like STUDENT DRIVER BEWARE! (only half kidding — I’m afraid folks around here will plough into us if they don’t know she is hestitant and prone to freezing up.)

It’s those first few times that I can’t imagine living through — like the Hawaiian cliff divers, you know? I watch them on TV and think, how do you ever learn from doing if you can’t survive the first time? (again, only half kidding)

3 10 2007
sam

Off topic and grammar nazi-ish, but did the man on the bike really poop out from the trees?

3 10 2007
JJ

All right wise guy — but I’m laughing too!
And I’m leaving it as mistyped, for the possible entertainment of others . . .
But I will vigorously claim it’s evidence of why my night vision shouldn’t be trusted much longer! Or my manual dexterity although the o and the p ARE right next to each other on the standard keyboard you know . . . let’s see, what else can I throw up in defense??

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