So far, no one has been hurt. All things considered, that is a good sign.
My wife and I have been trying to teach our 15-year-old daughter, Emma, to drive for some time now, but with Emma’s 16th birthday looming, we recently stepped up the lessons.
Last year, I wrote a column in which I stated that my wife and I were going to leave Emma’s driving lessons in the hands of professional driver education instructors, who, as I understand it, get paid and also have lower insurance deductibles.
That’s what I understand at least.
But this summer, we had some sort of conflict and missed the chance to sign Emma up for driving lessons.
So the job of teaching Emma how to drive fell to my wife and me.
We started Emma’s lessons several months ago, and then, for some reason, they tapered off for a while. Personally, I blame Obama. But to be honest, they also tapered off a bit because Emma displayed a surprising lack of interest in learning to drive.
“Hey, you want to drive around the neighborhood?” I would ask Emma.
“That’s OK, I’m good,” Emma would say.
At first, my wife and I didn’t mind the fact that Emma wasn’t particularly interested in learning how to drive. Let’s face it, teaching a 15-year-old how to drive is not exactly a day at the beach.
After a while, it dawned on us that the longer Emma puts off driving, the longer we will have to continue shuttling her all over town.
“Screw it, she’s learning how to drive,” we basically said.
Emma’s driving lessons have been going pretty well. OK, once when my wife was with her, Emma did sort of manage to drive the car up into our lawn, but hey, who among us can cast the first stone?
Besides, as my wife later found out, Emma had a perfectly good reason for driving the car into our lawn: She thought she saw somebody she knew.
On Sunday afternoon, Emma and I went out for an extended driving lesson. It occurred to Emma that it would be good if she practiced driving to important places around town, places to which she will have to drive herself in the future.
“Oh, you mean school, the library and maybe the large, 24-hour retail store in our town?” I asked Emma.
“No! Sonic,” Emma said.
I told Emma that she could drive to Sonic only if she agreed to drive in a neighborhood on the west side of Carthage first. The neighborhood is perfect for novice drivers because some of the roads are narrow, which allows for narrow road practice, and also because there isn’t much traffic. When you’re 15 and trying to learn to drive, traffic is a bad thing. Emma will be driving along a street and see — a block or two away — a car coming our way.
“DAD! THERE IS A CAR COMING! WHAT DO I DO?” she will yell.
“Steer directly at it and try to hit it,” I will say.
“Really?” Emma will ask.
Sarcasm tends to get lost during driving lessons.
What Emma does when she sees a car coming her way is hug the curb to the point of actually driving on it.
“Steer to the left a little bit,” I will say to Emma.
Then I will have to say, “OK, now steer back to the right again.”
We then repeat that process at least 10 times.
After spending 20 minutes or so driving around the neighborhood with narrow roads and little traffic, Emma (and I) felt confident enough for her to drive to Sonic.
“Do you want to try to park or go through the drive-through?” I asked.
“It depends how busy it is,” Emma said.
Turns out Sonic wasn’t too busy, and Emma was able to park the car and then place her order. After she ate her food, Emma backed the car out of her parking spot and drove us home.
Fortunately, she didn’t see anybody she knew.
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.
So far, no one has been hurt. All things considered, that is a good sign.
- Local News
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