If He Can’t Handle 10th Grade, How Can He Handle a Car?
I have been agonizing with what to do.
School starts on Monday, and I wanted very badly to let Dylan “do it all himself.” I want to go an entire year without contacting his teachers, without asking him if he’s done his homework, without checking every day to see if he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing.
We start the school year with a contract for each boy. The contract outlines expected behavior, and consequences of behavior that is inappropriate or otherwise detrimental to their own lives. I’ve delayed creating the contract because while my head is begging me to let this be THE YEAR that Dylan does what he’s supposed to do, this is entirely dependent on Dylan suddenly outgrowing the behavior that has been with him since he was in fourth grade.
Dylan is also preparing to drive a car. In a few weeks, he’ll be old enough for his learner’s permit. But having his learner’s permit does not make him responsible enough to drive a car – no matter how well he’s done in his go kart.
In fact, the go kart is sitting in the garage waiting for Dylan to put a new belt on it. It’s been broken for the entire summer, and Dylan claims that he hasn’t “had time” to fix it. Surely, ten minutes of those 7,000 hours he spent playing the keyboard could have been spent fixing that go kart.
It’s a fine example of how Dylan is not quite responsible enough to drive a car.
So I am thinking that we make his driving privileges contingent on his ability to know when a test or a quiz is taking place, to know when he’s got homework – and (perhaps a miracle will happen!) when to turn it in.
I don’t want to take away his phone anymore. I don’t want to take away his music time. I don’t want to take away his voice lessons. And his favorite job in the world is coming up, too – scarer at Field of Screams. I would never, ever want to take that away from him.
But if Dylan can’t remember to turn in his homework, how will he ever remember to turn on his turn signal, turn his head and look into his blind spot, and glide over into the next lane calmly? If he can’t study because he’s too distracted by Snap Chat, how can he drive a 3,000-pound vehicle down the road without Snap Chatting? If he can’t handle 10th grade, how can he handle a car?
Hm. I think I may have inadvertently discovered the answer we’ve sought for so long.
We can wait for Dylan to drive until Dylan proves that he’s mature and responsible enough to handle something simple – like school. And I don’t mean “remember your homework for a week and drive forever,” either. I mean, “BE responsible, so we’ll know you’re a responsible driver.”
This may be the only way to move forward – and save his life.
Even if he doesn’t like it.