My son Cameron got his learner’s permit recently. For his first driving outing, my husband Charlie and I were both in the car.
Cameron had spent six hours driving with an instructor, but of course he still has a lot to learn. (Thus, “learner’s permit.”) As it turned out, I had an opportunity to learn as well.
Charlie rode in the passenger seat, and I was behind Cameron, seated in the back. And listen, I’m no dummy. I know that it’s confusing to someone to get instructions from more than one source, and we had agreed that Charlie would take the lead on teaching Cameron to drive. I was, literally, along for the ride.
I won’t lie. It was hard.
It turns out that the way you drive is very individual. You have preferences: when you like to start braking, put on your turn signal, decide to change lanes. Within the parameters of the legal and physical rules of driving, there is a lot of latitude for personal style. Charlie is a great driver. And his style is different from mine.
So while Cameron was learning to drive, I was learning to be quiet. To observe how he was taking it all in, listening to Charlie while also implementing his instructions. I saw how the two of them communicated, and I noticed how well it was working.
Often our preferences become “the right way” to do something instead of simply one way to do it. This is true of so many parts of our lives, including how we talk to each other. One person’s pet peeve is another person’s favorite thing. How can we lean into the curiosity instead of the judgement? What can we learn once we let go of the need for our way to be the only way?
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