Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Driving lessons

This month has included a momentous event for my family: my youngest son got his official "Limited Learner's Permit," granting him the privilege of driving with an adult supervisor as he prepares to get his full driver's license next year.

Be still, my heart.  Is my baby boy really old enough to drive?
Lee behind the wheel, photographed by his dad from the passenger seat

Lee and I have had interesting conversations as he has been learning to drive.  As we've reviewed North Carolina's driving laws, he's been perplexed that so many drivers don't follow those laws.  For instance, North Carolina law requires that drivers turn on their headlights any time the weather conditions require use of their windshield wipers.  "Lots of people don't do that," Lee observed.

I explained that using your headlights in bad weather is not for your benefit, but for the benefit of the other drivers on the road.  And I realized that people don't obey this law because they don't really get this underlying principle.  Although they may not go through the entire thought process each time they get behind the wheel, they've thought about it at some point.  A driver's declining to turn on his or her headlights shows that he or she figures there's no reason to use the headlights unless there's a direct benefit to him or her. Which means that the driver is caught up in thinking about what's good for him or her, not about what's good for all drivers on the road.

Examples of the principle of considering the good of others abound in the Driver's Manual:

--Use turn signals to let other drivers know your intentions.
--Turn on low-beam headlights in fog.
--Don't pass on a double yellow line.

Some of these laws seem very restrictive when viewed solely from the standpoint of the driver.  But when you consider that all drivers need to think about what's best for everyone concerned, they make a lot more sense.  For instance, my turning on my low-beam headlights in fog doesn't really help me a lot--my visibility is not affected much by my headlights.  But in that instance, my headlights are not for my direct benefit.  Instead, they allow other drivers to see my car.  Of course, I benefit INdirectly when other drivers can see my car and thus don't run into me.

Aha!  Isn't that the way life is supposed to work?  Turning from the Driver's Manual to the Scriptures (Matthew 22 and Mark 12, for instance), I'm reminded that God designed us to live our lives in love, keeping in mind what is good for everyone concerned, not just what's good for ourselves.  

Poor drivers.  It seems that no one is teaching some of them the underlying principle of love for others.  What do you think?

I'm joining Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now
and Inspiration Friday At the Picket Fence.

9 comments:

Dawn said...

i love that picture <3

and you, only you, could bring this right around to God! and i love it. truly. i never thought about the connection... but i am constantly giving my own kids the consideration tips. the things that make you a nice driver, therefore a good driver (in my eyes!)

i try to hold back a little... thinking it "people pleaser!" but now i will think of it differently :)

love ya!

Patti said...

One thing I DO know for sure is that this was the most difficult lesson I had to teach my daughters - driving and the connection to everyday life and beliefs! I still worry about them driving and this Friday they are driving from ohio to myrtle beach (I will probably hold my breath until I know they are there safely!

Becky said...

Excellent thoughts. I'm going to ponder this for a while. Thanks, Richella!

Erin said...

It's also very much the "Golden Rule," which is today's Gospel for us Catholics. I can't help adding how today's Gospel ends:

"Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few."

Perhaps only those drivers who think of others are able to get through the constricted road...

Blessings on Lee as he embarks on this journey.

Erin

Kelli said...

Richella, you are absolutely right. I get so irratated at drivers and their lack of respect to others on the road. I hadn't given it much thought, but you're right in that they are only concerned for themselves. Interesting. Love how you tied it into scripture.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I am pleased to see that I follow most of those rules! ;) Oh, the driving with your child must be scary--I can't imagine what that's going to be like! Looks like Lee knows what he's doing though!

Linda said...

All of life can be an object lesson for us! I like how you used this driving situation to teach a biblical principle! Let each esteem others better than themselves. Such a good way to live!

Love, Linda

Sarah Brooks said...

Wow! So true!!!! Imagine a world were we all acted out of love for others instead of ourselves! Loved it! Thanks!

Jen L. said...

I TOTALLY agree! How many of life's problems would be avoided if people lived their lives in consideration of others and not just themselves?

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