Learner’s Permit Lessons

Parental Rites of Passage

Parenting provides opportunities for many milestones.

I remember when Hannah was born.

I remember when Hannah came home from the hospital in her baby seat in our Toyota Corolla.

I remember when Hannah stepped onto the school bus for the first time on her way to kindergarten.

I remember when Hannah went to high school for the first day of her freshman year.

It’s important to remember these milestones.  Parenting teaches you how quickly life goes.  And these milestones are a great way to celebrate the next steps in the journey of life.  Despite the fact we’d like life to slow down a little bit, we want our children to grow up.  We want them to tackle new challenges and climb new peaks.

This week, we experienced another milestone.

Hannah got her learner’s permit on Saturday.  In Pennsylvania, you have to be at least 16 years old, you have to pass a vision test, and you have to pass a computer based driving information and safety test.  I will always remember this day.

We drove to the testing facility where she passed the test.  She was so excited!

On the way home, we stopped at the high school parking lot, and our driving lessons began.  I switched seats with Hannah.  We spent ten minutes or so going over the controls and safety features of our car.  We talked about the importance of being aware of our surroundings, of driving safely, and obeying the rules of the road.  Then we took several laps around the parking lot.  The first couple of starts and stops were a little jerky as Hannah adjusted to the sensitivity of the brake and accelerator pedals.  Then when it was obvious she was getting the hang of things, she took the car out of the parking lot and onto a road.  It was a little scary for both of us.  She proceeded up the road traveling safely below the speed limit.  And she arrived at the first stop sign where she stopped 15 feet behind the white stop line.  I can’t complain she was being extra cautious.  Next, we turned right onto the next street, and before we knew it Hannah had made a complete lap around the high school campus.  We repeated this a few more times until I felt comfortable enough to let her drive home.

I’ll confess there were times when I was clutching the passenger door handle a little tightly.  There were also a couple of times when I quickly reached over to the steering wheel to make sure she stayed of the shoulder of the road.  But all in all, it went pretty well for her first time driving with her permit.

Sunday afternoon, we went out together for another hour.  This time, Hannah had a bit more confidence (and so did I) as she eventually made her way to church and home again.

I’m sure we’ll have many more adventures like these as she continues to learn the finer points of driving.  This is an adventure and milestone I wouldn’t miss for the world.

I don’t know where you are at in the parenting journey.  Maybe you’re new to the parenting thing.  Maybe your kids have moved on to college or kids of their own.  Maybe you haven’t quite crossed the line into parenthood just yet.  Here’s something I’ve been learning along the way.  Enjoy each moment.  Remember each milestone.  Don’t rush through it to get to the next thing.  The next thing will come sooner than you can ever imagine.

Make the most of each and every opportunity – in parenting and in life.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Ephesians 5:15-16

What milestone(s) have you experienced recently?  What are you doing to cherish these moments and milestones?  What do you remember about getting your learner’s permit?

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