Aside

Learning to Drive & Figuring it Out

Originally posted in another place at another time… It’s relevant enough to bring around here for a repeat.

This has turned out to be quite the introspective weekend for me. Among other things written in other places, I found myself thinking about the lessons we’re taught by our parents. If they set out to teach us these lessons specifically or if they just happen by a stroke of fate and we only realize it years later.


It was a quick comment on a friend’s Facebook post this afternoon that started me thinking about this. He commented that he was giving his daughter driving lessons and noted it was a manual transmission. This led me to remember my own learning experiences with my Dad. He bought me a bright and shining ‘84 red Camaro Z28, it was beautiful. He drove me to my deserted high school parking lot one weekend, under the pretense of teaching me how to drive.
He pointed out how to shift, how the clutch worked, and how to listen to the engine and when it “growled” to shift. He told me to have fun, left it idling and got out of the car. As he walked over to a portable’s steps, I got out and said, total disbelief evident in my voice, “Dad… what am I supposed to do?” He smiled, sat down, leaned back, and said, “Figure it out.”

I did.

And, I am still figuring things out on my own. Life presents you with problems more often than it hands you gift-wrapped solutions. The solutions are up to you to figure out. Sure equating learning to drive with being able to handle life may seem like a bit of a leap, but in looking back I see this as a reoccurring theme, whether these situations were caused by life or by myself. I jump in; figure it out and move on to the next item on the list.

So, now I wonder… did Dad realize at the time he was instilling in me confidence in my own abilities and presenting me with the tools I would need to figure out life’s problems? Part of me would like to think so, because that would be just devious enough of him. And, part of me believes he just wanted to see if I could do it. Either way, thanks Dad.

It’s amazing what you can learn if you just stop living for a moment and listen to yourself.

One thought on “Learning to Drive & Figuring it Out

  1. Great story, great moral. I wish more parents would instill this into their kids. Let them learn and make mistakes on their own! We seem so preoccupied anymore with making sure our little snowflakes don’t get an owie that we’re doing them (and the rest of the planet) a major disservice by not toughening them up a little, and pushing them to think for themselves.

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