The other day I asked my oldest son if he wanted to drive while we were running errands. His response? “No, do you mind driving?” What the hell? This is a 17 ½ year old who still doesn’t have his license and is supposed to be learning how to drive so he can acquire it.
When I was 15, I couldn’t wait just to turn 15 ½ so I could get my permit! I pestered my parents constantly asking to drive. When I turned 16, one of the most exciting things was the ability to get my license! A license meant freedom! Independence! The ability to go see my friends whenever I wanted! We lived in a very rural area, so a license also meant being able to get a job and earn money! It was one of the cornerstones of growing up and becoming an adult.
So imagine my surprise to realize that Seth has zero motivation to get his license. Would he like one? Yeah. But is he driving every chance he gets in order to make that happen. Nope! He drives only about a ¼ of the time when we go somewhere; and, of those times, it’s only because we make him.
Where are all the teen drivers?
We don’t have many friends with teenagers so we thought it was just Seth being unmotivated (read lazy). But then we spoke with family members who have a teenage daughter and discovered they were going through the same thing. And it dawned on me that not only does Seth not have a license, but neither do any of his friends. This isn’t just a Seth, being Seth thing. This is a whole generation of teenagers who have no need or desire to get their license.
There are probably a lot of reasons teenagers today aren’t in a hurry to get their licenses. Changing laws on driving restrictions, increases in cost of insurance, cost of gas (though at least it’s not as high as it was a few years ago), possible concern for the environment, and rising costs of cars and car repairs I’m sure all play a part.
But do you want to know Seth’s main reason? All his friends are online.
With cellphones, tablets, texting, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, there isn’t quite the urgency to connect with a friend face to face… And if you wanted to see their face? There’s FaceTime and Skype!
Seth talks to his friends every day. He interacts with them socially through texting and his online game, League of Legends. Hell, he spends more time with his friends than he does with his family, and we’re under the same roof! Social interaction was my main reason for wanting to drive. I wanted to see my friends! So I guess with this motivation being achieved through different means, there isn’t as much urgency to learn to drive.
So for now we force our teenage son to drive just so he can pass his driver’s test. Wow, that is so weird to say. Forcing our teen to drive. He says he wants his license, but he makes no effort to obtain one. It’s like he’s just waiting for someone to just hand him one. *sigh*
As strange as it is to me, I’m also sort of okay with him dragging his feet a little. I clearly remember being a little crazy behind the wheel at 16. And if I was a little crazy, my brother was INSANE! And then there are the stories from John about the stunts him and his brother pulled while driving. It makes me think boys either have a secret death wish, or believe that they can’t die.
So yeah, I’ll hold off a little on the worry every time Seth grabs the car keys.
In the meantime, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. But before too long… eventually… hopefully… I’ll have to hang one of these in the car:
Do any of you have teenage drivers? Did you have similar issues? Please comment below!
And as always…
Please don’t mind the mess.
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