I am sitting in the passenger side of my car talking in a calm, reassuring voice to the driver—my son. The voice is masking my inner terror. That terror can be observed by noticing how tightly my hands grip the door and how my right foot is applying extreme force to a brake that is not there. Once again, in fulfilling one of my parental duties, I am teaching a teenager how to drive.
There are very few things that I enjoy less than being in a car with a teenager who has a brand new driver’s permit. It is an experience that can fray the nerves of even the bravest individual. New drivers tend to hug the right side of the road so closely that I feel I can reach out and touch every mailbox, sign, and tree. At one point I am looking far down a winding country road and just around the next bend I spot a truck stopped in the road with his back up lights on. I noticed my son is just focused on what is right in front of him and does not see the danger that looms ahead. My calm demeanor is nowhere to be found as I yell “Stop! A truck! Stop!” Thankfully he does stop in time.
I ask. “Didn’t you see the truck?”
“No, I wasn’t looking that far down the road.”
“You need to focus on the entire road, not just what is in front of you.”
It occurred to me at that moment that the legislative process and legislators—especially this time of the year—are not much different than teenage drivers. (more…)