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Teenage Driving Lessons in the Front Yard

I set out to give me teenage son his first driving lesson.  Believe it or not we started on the lawn tractor.  I first explained it was not a toy, the importance of safe operation, like looking behind you every time before you back up, paying attention to avoiding obstacles, etc.   I told him not to cut the grass any faster than 3rd gear.   After watching him get the hang of it for a few minutes, I moved out of sight.  Within a short time he had the mower at top speed in 6th gear, zigging and zagging in and out of trees like cones on a race course with a big smile plastered across his face.  He finished the lawn in no time, and parked the lawn mower in 6th gear, still wearing a big grin.

I approached him and said, "I thought I was going to be giving the lessons today, but in fact you taught me the biggest lesson of the day.   He smiled more, probably thinking to himself...yeah dad, like how to get the lawn done in 10 minutes. 

I explained, you showed me that you are not yet ready to drive.   The smile vanished, and the look changed to anxious confusion.  I went on to explain, if I can't trust you out of sight on a lawn mower for a few minutes, how can I trust you out of sight with an automobile.  I explained that driving, requires more than just skill in gas, braking and turning.  Anybody can figure out the when to brake and how to turn.  I explained, driving also requires trust and self control.  

Now I know teenages will be teenages, and boys will be boys, but I'm hoping that this lesson will stay with him when he gets behind the wheel of an auto and wonders just how fast it going.

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