When I was teaching my daughter to drive, I was really glad there were quite a few big, empty parking lots nearby. Spatial and directional thinking are not her strongest abilities. She is an analytical word girl- like her mom. We spent a lot of time in parking lots practicing backing, parallel parking, and a whole slew of other basic skills.
Remembering which way to turn the wheel to back out of a space or to drive in reverse was a particular challenge. Whenever she asked which way it should work, I didn’t reply with an answer but with a question– “Which way do you want your butt to go?” Then she would stop and reason it out.
After she got her license, she confessed that sometimes she still heard my voice in her head, thinking aloud about skills while she was driving.
I’m pretty sure it irritated her that she heard her mother’s voice chirping at her, although I was more than okay with it. I have no doubt that with time, she has stopped hearing me quite so much.
And she should.
As a young adult, she needs to hear her own voice guiding her through life’s dilemmas. Ultimately, our goal for our children is to grow up and be happy, independent, successful adults.
Knowing the goals for my children is easy. (No one ever said working toward them was easy! I’m not delusional.) As I’ve taught them authentic skills of life, mostly one-on-one, the next step was always obvious, and if it took extra time, it was not a usually a concern. Sometimes I wish classroom and educational goals could be the same way. They are spelled out and supposed to be really obvious, but it’s hard when time becomes a problem. I always second-guess myself and have self-doubt about what I could have done differently to make things flow for everyone. But we’re not an assembly line, and some people just need more time.
When I had my hand firmly on the grip of the armrest of my car door, fervently praying she would not drive us over the bluff that was part of one of our practice spots, I never thought I’d say that was an easier endeavor.
But, honestly, some days it was.