The Lessons of Driving an Ugly Car

I was chatting with a man recently who was sharing his woes about getting his teenager to want to have a driver’s license. Their teen just didn’t seem interested in driving. When I asked how the teen gets from place to place now, well of course the parents take the teen anywhere they need to go. So I asked what was the teen’s motivation to learn to drive? The man then talked about the benefits for himself and his wife, it never occurred to him to think from the teenager’s perspective.

I spoke to another parent who was complaining about their college grad still living with them and wondered how to get them to move out. They ate dinner with the parents, Mom did their laundry, and they had every electronic gadget they could ever want. I asked about the grad’s motivation to move out, and the parent again spoke from their own perspective never realizing how easy they had made it for the grad to stay at home. Neither parent took the time to look at the world through their child’s perspective.

We get so caught up in what is going on in our own world that we forget to think about what the world looks like through the other person’s glasses. How does life look when they peer through their own windshield or at their own checkbook? We get so used to the luxuries of life we forget that at one time they were still luxuries, things we treated ourselves with not something we experienced every month. The thought of living life without those luxuries seems unbearable, yet millions of people never have those things and live a full and enriching life. The first car is for transportation and doesn’t have to be in good condition; if it runs and has basic safety who cares what it looks like as long as it gets you to work.

We have forgotten those days and robbed the next generations of the lessons and joys of doing without, saving until, or even living with ugly until they can afford previously owned all on their own income. They do not know what it means to not have tv or a microwave or even to drive an older, ugly, well worn car. As I look back I understood the value of my money when I was spending it to live out my life choices. I appreciate all my parents did for me, and I value the way they let me fail with my own funds along my journey to allow me to learn those lessons.

Be sure to be kind and firm, and allow the people in your life to learn the lessons you learned in such a way that they value time, money and work ethic in their own life. Those of us who will have to work and interact with them when they are on their own will salute your efforts in letting them learn the lessons of driving an ugly car.

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