The story around my house goes like this: We used to be able, the three of us, to walk past ice cream stores without having to stop. When my son would ask my wife and I what that sign says, we would simply explain that it read, "Poisonous Gas - Keep Moving." And that's what we did. This worked well enough until we taught him how to read. Then we started to get all kinds of questions that we hadn't been getting before he got all literate on us. Suddenly we were stopping at ice cream shops, comic book and video game stores, yogurt stands and anything else that happened to catch my son's beginning reader's eye.To say that our progress down the avenue was slowed would be a gross understatement.
We eventually relaxed into the reality of having another person in the family who could decode the mystic runes that surrounded us. It had some very practical applications, allowing our son to become involved in finding those ice cream shops and toy stores that we might have carelessly glossed over. The more words he learned, the more useful this skill became. Soon he was bringing home new information for us by the bookful. Suddenly, my wife and I were learning new things even though I had sworn off reading for ourselves years before.
This was very similar to the path we took when it came time for my son to learn how to drive. I had effectively given up driving some time ago, and as terrifying a thought as having my teenage son behind the wheel of a large automobile, the eventual relief I found from not having to drive all the way to Anaheim from Oakland was gratifying. Since I have long-haul responsibility in my family, it was a treat to be able to sit in the back seat from time to time. The view from there is very interesting, and gives one a glimpse of just exactly what the driver is doing. This also affords one the opportunity to make comments and discuss openly the challenges and limitations of the person operating the motor vehicle. I know because I have used that position to direct and correct problems I have seen in my son's technique. I did this right up until I found myself with our positions reversed, and now he was looking at my skills. He knows when the light is red that it means stop. He knows what that double yellow line means. I can't just shine him on anymore.
That's why I'm going to let him drive to the ice cream shop from now on.