by Dr. Tom Vogel
Transportation is always a problem for the average teenager. He is caught between the bicycle and the automobile stage, and he is at the mercy of others to drive him everywhere. The days of neighborhood stores and churches are just about over. In modern America, the automobile is a necessity, not only for adults, but also for the active teenager. Because transportation is so important, and oftentimes there are more places to go than drivers or time to get there, transportation becomes a point of contention in weekly planning. Please let the following principles guide your transportation decisions.
➊Never keep a teenager from a church activity because of transportation problems. You can always find a ride. Where there is a will, there is a way.
➋Never complain to your teens about having to drive them somewhere. The day will come when they won’t be around anymore, and you would do anything for the fellowship. There are many moms and dads who have lost their teenager to death who would give anything for one more ride with their kid.
➌Plan your schedule around their transportation needs. If they need a ride to church for an activity, do your soul winning during that time, or sit in your car and study your Sunday school lesson. Doing this saves you time and money driving back and forth. Use the time wisely.
➍Be willing to pick up other kids when asked. I always wanted to help other people whenever I could. It is a bonus when you need help also. But more than that, I wanted my kids to know that I thought their activities were important to me and so were their friends. Warning: people will take advantage of you, but it is worth it.
➎Be polite to your own kids as well as the other kids in the car. You do not want your kids to dread the time that you spend with them. I have heard parents use the whole drive time to chew their kids out. The kids practically fled the car.
➏Try to be a good conversationalist. Learn to be quiet and listen. Don’t force yourself into their conversation. We just have to face
the facts. We are a different generation, and sometimes we do not belong in their conversation.
➐Do not be hurt if you are not appreciated. You never will be until you are dead and gone. You probably do not appreciate them like they deserve either. If they do not say goodbye or thank you for the ride, remember to teach that at your next family altar. But don’t make a big scene in front of their friends.
➑Use the drive time as a training session. I did my best to tell a story that had a lesson to be learned. Sometimes, I didn’t get to finish because I heard, “Dad, we’ve heard that one a hundred times.” But often we discussed something of real merit. I was able to teach something to my audience, and they were eager to hear my story. Don’t get angry if they don’t listen. Just work at being more interesting the next time.
➒Don’t use the drive time to spy. Don’t try to find out every bit of teenage gossip available. It is a violation of trust to listen to your
kids’ conversations and then grill them about it later. Don’t ignore what is said either.
➓Be aware of what the kids are talking about. Although this sounds the opposite of number 9, it is not. The difference is your motive. Listen to what the kids are talking about. It will help you to understand them and their needs better. They face a lot of pressures that adults do not understand, and their lives are a lot more complicated than what we think. Learn about them by listening.
Always use your time to build a better relationship with your son or daughter. As the kids get older, the time you spend with them will be less and less. Every day is a new adventure with a teenager in the house. As you ride together, you have tremendous opportunity to talk and listen. Use it.
My kids are grown now. I am thankful for every ride that I ever had with them. I wish I had more. If you have teenagers at home, drive them every chance you get.✥