Manic: Several weeks ago when our son was about to turn 16. He begged us to take him to a parking lot several days in a row so he could practice his 3-point turns. He was also anxious to pass his DMV test, receive his license and drive, drive and drive. I was excited and terrified for him all in one.
Managed: Took a deep breath, had him practice up a storm, complete his driving courses and took him to the DMV on his 16th birthday. Much to his delight, he passed the road test with a perfect 100% score. And even more exciting was the big surprise that we had in store for him…a new car! The surprise was amazing and I will never forget that day, but the most important thing I want to tell you about is the contract that my husband drew up for our boy to sign before keys to the new car would be released. And I will get to the cocktails (for us) part of the story in a bit. But first, the almighty contract, which I highly suggest for you to create when your precious child takes that big step and becomes a licensed driver!
When my husband brought this home, it really got our boy’s attention. He was shocked that his Dad had taken the time to draw up a thorough, dated and very specific contract that would outline an agreement between him, our newly licensed 16-year-old driver, and us, his anxious parents.
He immediately understood that we are trusting him to drive off and to be safe, smart and responsible. He also understood just how much of a huge responsibilty we have decided to entrust him with as he read each provision. He also had to read the document aloud to us so that we knew that he had considered every word. The contract spells out rules that you would expect like absolutely no texting (or operating any electronic device) ever when driving a car. We also covered no driving ever if drinking has occurred. Our son is a straight A student who plays AAA/AA travel hockey and high school golf, so he stays away from alchol and drugs as he is very vested in his activities and doesn’t want to compromise the teams that he has worked so hard to be a part of….so although we know that he doesn’t do those things, it can’t be ignored that he may be tempted as he grows and becomes a college student. I also liked that my husband added that he will take care of his car and keep it maintained, that he will obey all traffic laws and not drive recklessy or be influenced by others in his car by goofing off behind the wheel. My favorite is the very last rule that says “So that I am always aware of what I have pledged, I will always keep a copy of this pledge with me in my car”….bravo honey!
I truly think that if our son ever considers breaking a pledge (he is human and he is a teenager), I do believe that he will remember this contract and think twice. I hope that this piece of paper and the memory of sitting down with the two people who love him more than anything in the world will help him to make the right choices, especially now that he is behind the wheel. This is taking some getting used to for me!
Now for the fun part of this post! Six years ago, my boy’s Dad made a deal with him that if he always made straight As in his classes (honors included) and stayed out of trouble, then when he turned 16, he would get some wheels. Those wheels were supposed to be his Dad’s old truck. We made the decision to instead surprise him with a new Nissan Xterra. After meeting with our auto broker, Tom Himes with Himes Leasing & Sales, it was decided that the Xterra is a good choice due to the safety record of the model and the fact that it retains its value if well cared for and will run for years.
So we drove to Tom Hime’s office and told our boy that we were picking up his Dad’s new car, when actually it was his new Nissan that was waiting on the lot for our boy. He was absolutely shocked when we told him the surprise and you can see his surprise and delight in the pictures. [Read more...]