I have a few stories I wanted to share for those of you who have teens of driving age. Here's the first story. A mom told me this story about her 16 1/2 year old daughter who got her license in July. It seems she has wonderfully generous grandparents who bought her a car. Not a new one, but a sensible, used, safe car for a new driver. It was time to get the car registered, and inspected. We all know what a huge pain in the a** that is, but it is part of the deal when you own a car, so you suck it up. But a first time, new car owner should not yet be jaded by such an experience, and instead you would think would be excited to take ownership in every way possible for the independence this car will bring.
But, this new generation of teens are not used to being patient. This is the immediate gratification cohort. I want what I want when I want it!!! And so far in their lives, it has worked that way. Want to watch a movie, download it now. Want to talk to a friend, text them now. Want to take a photo and share it, no need to go to a drugstore, develop the prints, and put them in the mail to share with friends and family, nope. take it and send it. You get the idea. Well, just tell that to the registry and the gas station inspection man! They don't know from instant gratification. "You gotta wait in line like the rest of them!" It seems this teen didn't like waiting in lines reported the mom: "I'm tired, this is boring!" complained the teen. Boring!!!!!! Being given a car, having this "gift" of independence, that's boring???? That last comment sounds like it would have come from my mother, adding of course "kids these days." But no, it came from old fuddy duddy me! As your teen takes on the real responsibilities of life, they will be shocked and chagrined that most things in life are hard, take time, determination and that gratification will not be immediate. Best to start them on the road to understanding now!
Second story. Over the weekend I was seated at an outdoor cafe enjoying a lovely lunch. A parking space opened up directly in front of my friend and I on this very busy street, and was immediately filled by a teen who looked like a newish driver. Though I must say he did a good job of parallel parking. He pops out of the car, without even glancing at the meter to see whether he needed to feed it and sped on his way across the street to the Burrito Bar. Not 5 minutes pass before a the meter man walks by the car, with the expired meter, and slaps a lovely bright, neon green parking ticket on the windshield of this kid's car. Several minutes elapse, and the boy comes back to his car, and jumps in, completely oblivious to the bright green ticket on his windshield., and pulls away. I'm telling you, this ticket could not have been any more noticeable had it been screaming, "haha, you got a ticket!" It was a windy day, and I am sure the ticket ended up on the street after driving. Woe to that boy, when the parking ticket, now quadrupled in price for lateness, shows up at his house and opened by his parents. Here is the takeaway, train your teens to check meters and windshields!!!!!!
PS. Friends of mine wrote this book on interrracial adoption, a great resource!