Yesterday, while at the state fair, we happened by a sea of cars on display. So the boys spent a good half hour climbing in and out, grabbing steering wheels and shaking them from side to side, Ryan included.
Meanwhile, I went to get buffalo chips. (No, not actual buffalo, the animal, but buffalo like buffalo wing sauce but on fries, not wings. With sour cream. End of explanation.)
I'm not all that into steering wheels or climbing in and out of cars, but I sure am into pretty much any fair food. Except alligator on a stick...not that.
When I got back, Ryan excitedly told me there was something new with some of the display models they were climbing in and out of. He said that the speedometers can be set so they won't go over a certain speed. Then he went on to say that there's also a setting that won't allow the car to start unless the seat belts are buckled.
He said, "Isn't that cool? Wouldn't that be great for parents of teens?"
While handing a fry, dripping with sour cream to Asher, I distractedly replied with a big fat no.
He said, "WHAAAT??? C'mon! You don't think that's cool?"
So I gave my very wise response. Something like, "Sure, teens need boundaries and sound instruction and set expectations, but controlling these settings on their car? No, I don't agree. How will they ever learn to make good choices on their own and all that?"
Then he said that I should consider the fact that the teenage mind is incapable of making responsible decisions.
Then I said that wasn't entirely true, that kids are learning how to make responsible decisions in their teen years, and even if they're missing part of their brain for a while, it's their chance to learn responsibility. If they have to do that by making mistakes, then that's how they'll learn. I gave the example of speeding, saying that if a teenager should so happen to get a ticket (with a car that is not set to go only a certain speed), they learn that there's a price to pay if rules aren't followed.
I was so proud of my response.
But then my dear husband quickly retorted, "Well, they won't learn a lesson if their car rolls over in a ditch and they die."
I had to think fast.
So I did that whole thing where I ramble on, talking about how there are a lot of things we can't control in life. And yes, of course I would like to prevent my children from ever driving so fast without seat belts that they would lose their lives, but I can't control everything. What we can do is teach our kids to be safe and then pray all the time. And cross our fingers and toes and hold our breath...and possibly ground them for weeks should they get a ticket for speeding and then talk for days on end about what it would be like to roll over in a ditch. (Well OK. I didn't say all of that...but I made my point.)
After my rambling, Ryan started using his high-pitched voice, "I can't believe you don't think this is cool!!!" And then he went back to checking out the cars and thinking about deep fried chocolate chip cookies.
The whole discussion got me thinking about my earliest driving years.
I stood there with my Dad, reliving out loud a time when I was about seventeen, and I (and some unfortunate friends) were chased down country roads by a strange man who had come out of nowhere, speeding faster and faster behind me, forcing me to step on the gas and GO. I was driving as fast as my '82 Chevy Celebrity would let me, trying to escape this creepy man who was trying to run me off the road.
I'm not sure what speed my little clunker reached (because the speedometer was broken and would just float behind the plastic window, bouncing from side to side). But I do know I was able to do at least 80mph in that hunk-a-junk.
The guy gave up after about 15 miles, suddenly pulling into an empty church parking lot and watching us speed away.
Good job, two-toned brown Celebrity, you saved us!
"Ugh, that was so scary," I shivered and looked up at my Dad.
"Good thing you didn't have my speedometer set to 60."
(Hopefully you sense the humor in that statement. Of course, it wasn't funny at the time, but we had a good laugh over it now.)
In ending, if you're on my side of this argument, go ahead and use that information as ammo. You could say something like, "And what if the teenager is being chased by some lunatic predator!?! They'll need to go fast! Just that once!"
(photos courtesy of flickr)