Have you ever questioned what we as car drivers are teaching children (and other drivers)?
Let’s see…here’s a few things we want the next generation to learn:
- Working Well With Others
- Time Management
- Obey Laws
- Thoughtfulness (aka Kindness aka Compassion)
Now let’s look at how these are “taught” on the highways and byways of our road system.
- Yellow Light Changing to Red – lesson: if you speed up you can make the light (impatience is a virtue). Better: if you left earlier, you would not need to feel the craving to make the light (Time Management, Trust, Respect).
- Driving at the Speed of Light – lesson: it’s okay to drive 15-25 miles per hour over the posted speed limits. Better: slow down and drive at a safer speed (Safety, Obey laws, Honesty)
- Tailing Others – lesson: other people should get out of my way after all I am entitled to drive faster than others. Better: back off and teach the kids it takes a good 2-4 seconds to stop if the person in front of you slams on the brakes for some reason (Safety, Respect, Trust)
- Emotion Management – lesson: if the other person is driving in a way that is not in conformance to how you think, it’s okay to tail them, blow the horn, shake your fist (or finger) at them, stare angrily at them as you go around. Better: take a deep breath and perhaps next time leave earlier (or later) to avoid traffic snarls and the temptation to think you are entitled to drive any way you want (Respect, Working Well With Others, Trust, Safety).
- Sound Effects – lesson: everybody should put up with your music likes and dislikes, after all it’s a public road. Better: keep the volume down to respect the space others occupy around you (Respect, Thoughtfulness, Compassion)
- Street Signs – lesson: every street sign can be interpreted differently (i.e., Stop may mean Yield and Yield might mean Stop, and Merging means do it at the last possible second…nearly causing an accident). Better: Yield means Yield, Stop means Stop, Merge means begin merging (Trust).
I am sure you can come up with more “manners” we teach while driving. Remember, we are always examples to everyone around us. And…if you read through the signals we send to our kids who ride in the cars…it is chilling to think they will drive like the “lessons” we unconsciously teach them while behind the steering wheel (Be disrespectful and drive as you wish, as fast as you want, as close to others as you feel necessary, as thoughtless as you can, and with lots of anger while enthusiastically sharing your music at volumes that would deafen anyone and interpreting the laws as merely guides on the road).