The Boring Word About Lerner’s Permit

September 4, 1985

Our eldest son turned 16 last week and as any of you with teenagers may know we have now begun the battle of the driver’s license. When our daughter turned 16 it was October and we convinced her that it was too close to winter to learn to drive. With summer she traveled and as a result she was 17 before we made the trip to get the learner’s permit. Somehow I don’t think circumstances will be the same this time.

For almost a year our son has been turning the car around in the driveway and offering to start it anytime I headed for the door. Driver education was the one course we did not have to insist that he study.

A few days before his birthday he began to ask who had time to take him to Greensburg for the permit. So far we have held off requiring him to check with the school as to when he is scheduled for behind the wheel training. I even considered calling to see if I could have him put at the bottom of the list.

It’s not that I don’t want him to drive. I like having someone to volunteer to drive to the store for a loaf of bread or to pick up the paper late Saturday night. At times its a relief to know I don’t have to sit outside the school for 45 minutes waiting for rehearsal to end.

On the other hand I don’t think God should give teenage drivers to parents who are reaching their mid-life crisis. Sitting in the passenger seat with your teenager behind the wheel ranks right up there with going to the dentist. My husband and I have both come close to plunging our foot through the floorboards as we tried to put on the brake from the passenger side. Sitting at home waiting for child and car to come back at the end of an evening is also not my idea of recreation.

It’s not that they can’t drive. In fact most teens probably have faster reflexes and know the rules of the road better than we adults. It’s just hard to envision the son who was arguing with his brother over the last scoop of ice cream yesterday sitting behind the wheel of a car today.

Then there are the back seat instructors. These are the loving brother and sister who add their superior knowledge to the already tense atmosphere. In our car everyone know how to do it better than everyone else. Of course if you want to know how your new driver is doing after he/she gets their license just send along a brother or sister. They will report back every miscue in vivid details.

I guess what is really troubling me though is that somehow in my family planning I didn’t count correctly. Believe it or not this year as my son turns 16 we need a new car! The thought of sending out a new car in the hands of my second born does nothing for my nerves. The only ray of hope is that the car will be two years old when our youngest reaches 16!