38 Years as a Driver. And the Pledge I’m Taking to Improve.

Posted August 20, 2014 by jimhigley

My teenage son. Good thing he's always looking over my shoulder.

My teenage son. Good thing he’s always looking over my shoulder.

Raising teenagers isn’t a bed of roses. Trust me. I’ve got two down and one to go.

One still in the thick of it at the age of 18. Old enough to vote and serve our country. Too young to drink. He’s stuck in never-never land. A child waiting to become an adult.

And I get to go along for the ride.

There are a lot of potholes parents need to navigate through during the teen years. Bad attitudes. Stressed communication. And the pushing of boundaries and the breaking of rules.

But it’s all part of a kid’s road map to independence.

The list is long. Some of it is agonizing. And some of it is oh, so nerve-wracking.

But there’s one sure-to-happen part of it that will make you stop dead in your tracks: The moment your almost-adult-but-still-a-child offspring calls you out for breaking one of the many rules you’ve instilled in them over the years.

You see, teens are perfect at spotting a double standard when they see it. So be prepared.

My most recent call-out came from my teenage son. The one who is a little over two years with a driver’s license. He’s the one who – because he’s young and a male – is presumed to be reckless. And less cautious. More likely to make mistakes.

Truth is, he’s a pretty darn good driver.

He’s also the one who let’s me have it when I try to sneak in one of my very, very, very bad habits of eating while driving.

“Put that down!” he’ll scream at me if I try to pop anything – and I mean anything – in my mouth when I’m behind the wheel.

“It’s just frozen yogurt,” I tell him. “I don’t want it to melt.”

“I don’t feel safe, Dad.”

My kid doesn’t feel safe with me. That’s a low blow. But I know he’s right. Even so, I try to rationalize doing it because I have a perfect driving record. That’s the equivalent of a hall pass, right? And besides, I’m kind of hungry.

“If you put another french fry in your mouth, I’m getting out at the stop sign,” he threatens.

“It’s one fry!” I say defending myself.

But my son has zero tolerance.

Which really ticks me off. And, at the same time, makes me as proud as a dad can be.

Teens. They really can be a pain in the rear. A lot. But they also bring some pretty amazing gifts. Ones that confirm they are growing up. Maturing. Learning. Capable of making good decisions.

And wise enough to know that there really are, in fact, some rules that are NOT meant to be broken.

So son, if you’re reading this, you’re doing well. And Dad’s proud of you.

I’ll ride shotgun with you any day.

As for the rest of you who have some “double standards” with your own driving habits, I have a challenge for you: Join me in celebrating Progressive’s “Drive Safe Today Day” on September 3, 2014. I’ve even taken their Pledge to be a better driver and, candidly, you should too! It’s a good reminder for all of us that we have the power to make our roads a little bit safer.

Oh, and let your kids know you’re doing it so you can beat them to the punch before they call you out.

I’ve teamed up with Progressive for their Drive Safe Today initiative. Although I’ve been compensated for my post, the thoughts and ideas are my own.I


  • Van Brown

    Loved this!