Sunday, February 10, 2013

Driving Lessons

The day I received my driver's license at the age of 16 and a half, I had to swear to my parents that I would always wear my seat belt, and then had to pry the set of keys out of my father's hand.  It was always clear to me that a vehicle can become the ultimate weapon in the wrong or negligent hands, and that having a license added a huge responsibility to myself and those around me.

I remember the first time I drove home with Baby Raphaela in the back seat in her car seat, I practically had a nervous breakdown thinking about everything that could possibly occur.

We always joked in our family that my youngest brother, now 25, was so spoiled that my parents would be giving him driving lessons as a toddler, and in fact I can remember my brother as a child sitting on my father's lap and "steering" while my father backed out of the drive way.

In summary, I take driving very seriously.

This morning, after dropping off Raphaela at Gan, I came to the corner of my street and witnessed the following, in horror:  a father, who I could see in the distance at the bottom of the hill, had left his unattended four year old with their running car, key in the ignition, at the top of the steep hill.  Around the time that I arrived on the scene, the little girl was about to close the heavy door (on her fingers) and settle into the driver's seat.  For her own safety and any pedestrians who might get injured if the car went out of control, I stopped this four year old from touching any 'grown-up' buttons in the car, and supervised her until her father returned approximately ten minutes later.

I know that Israelis pride themselves on trusting their children and giving them more independence and leeway than in other Western cultures, and while I appreciate the maturity it grants the next generation, in this case it could have been lethal.  When was the last time Raphaela or any other curious human around her age sat quietly, when there are so many buttons to press and an opportunity to drive just like Mom or Dad?

I watched over this girl, and when the father came back to the car, I nodded somberly in his direction and he could barely make eye contact with me;  I am hoping that is a sign that he understood the gravity of his error. ( pun intended)  I chose not to yell or point out the absolute irresponsibility of his behaviour.

On this, Israeli Family Day, it seemed clear enough.

2 comments: said...

In addition to teaching you proper hand signals, turning signals, how to use the controls on your bike, and how to ride, you are also going to learn all about defensive driving, and how to be as safe as possible when you are on the road.

Driving lessons Bournemouth

Mia Patch said...

Lucky you! I got my driving license at the age of 20. My parents did not give me any driving lesson; they just registered me to a driving school. They said that it’s much better for me to learn how to drive in a formal driving school because there’s so much more I can learn in there than from them. Well, they do have a point, right? #Mia Patch