I love the summer holidays when my kids are out of school. The break from the daily academics, combined with the longer days, creates some of the richest environments for families to be together and just “hang out.” I like to think that I’m a good dad when it comes to helping my children learn what’s most important in life, and summer is a great time for that. As it turns out, they have a few things to teach me as well.
This summer my oldest daughter entered her second year of driving. (Is this a bigger journey for her or for her dad?) I admit to a good deal of pride in watching her focus on becoming a better driver. She’s thoughtful, attentive, and persistent. I love her determination to master this complex and important process.
I already know how to drive—I learned ages ago, under the watchful eye of my own dad. What I am learning now is to be patient. To be supportive. To be calm.
We don’t have to make a list here, but there have been a few bumps and bruises along the way. They were tests of her attentiveness and my patience—opportunities for her to be persistent in addressing their causes and for me to be supportive (and calm).
While getting behind the wheel is an opportunity for my daughter to improve her skills and become a better driver, it’s also an opportunity for me to show love and support. Learning to drive isn’t easy, it takes practice, and it results in a lifelong skill. Turns out that the virtues are no different: the more we practice them, the better we are at putting them to work in our lives.
In our personal lives and in our work we find ourselves on both sides of this equation: developing and using both our skills and our values. The “driving lessons” are never really over, and new opportunities for compassionate service are ours each day.