My wife says that I’m a terrible driver.
I hear all the ways and reasons why I am a bad driver the moment we pull out of the driveway.
I drive too fast.
I drive too slow.
I drive to close.
I’m too aggressive.
I’m not paying attention.
You’re going to kill us.
It’s that last reason on the list that always puts me in my lowly place. No one should ever feel like their life is in jeopardy and no father or husband should ever make their loved ones feel unsafe. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that if my wife and sons feel like they are not safe in a car, than maybe I shouldn’t be driving them at all. On the other side of the spectrum, even if I am alone in a car and I’m driving recklessly, I’m still putting other lives at risk – the lives of unsuspecting motorists that we share the road with.
Even a hasty analysis of my driving skills draws succinct parallels to life – every thought or action I take affects myself and everyone around me.
Consider this – are there other situations in your life where you are putting others including your loved ones at risk? Is the way that you live your life driving others around you to feel unsafe, uncomfortable, restricted, burdened or loathe being around you?
My inability to give my loved ones a sense of security when we’re driving the highways led me to a miserable and lonely conclusion – I am selfish.
If I were unselfish I would have heeded the countless warnings of my backseat drivers. If I were considerate of their feelings I would have set aside my foolish pride for the sake of my family and their wellbeing. But my pride, my arrogance and my ego are such that nothing else matters when I get behind the wheel. I know best and because I know best I will do what I want to do.
Not all aspects of my life are this way but there is little doubt in my mind that there should be no exceptions and no excuses for putting myself ahead of others. I need to drive all facets of my life as carefully as I should be driving my family.
Follow the rules of the road
No one is exempt. Sure, we can get away with driving a few miles over the speed limit or running through a stop sign but no one is exempt to prosecution and the just punishment that is delivered by the law when we are caught.
The same can be said of our lives. We can skimp and cheat our way through our relationships and we can be dishonest here and there with our neighbors, employers and friends but we must also be willing to accept the repercussions of our actions. If I live by the truths I subscribe to, chances are good that others will follow.
I struggle with my behavior on the road which leads to a sobering phrase that I have to confront when my thoughts and actions contradict the person I really want to be – what if that was someone you love? The answer to the question is simple – If it was someone I love I would not treat them with contempt, wish them ill or do them harm but rather treat them with kindness and respect even if that kindness is not reciprocated.
The first question leads to another solemn question that leads to a somber truth – even if it’s not my loved one, it’s someone’s loved one. I will do better if I can be more courteous in every life situation.
Signal your intent
When someone flips on their blinker to go left or right I’m expecting that person to follow through on their intent. If in fact they don’t follow through or they do the opposite of what they’re telling me there may be imminent and severe danger ahead.
The same can be said of us: if I say one thing but I do the exact opposite, others will lose faith and their trust in my ability to lead. We should live in such a way that our intentions are always transparent. By doing so our character can never be questioned or at the very least, everyone will know who and what we are.
My road skills, particularly my etiquette is a work in progress and my life is an ongoing struggle to improve. I can’t say that I will ever be perfect behind the wheel of a car, but I can say that I am trying. The same can be said of how I am driving my life – I am not flawless but I’m doing my best to follow the rules, be kind and be transparent.
How is your driving and where is it leading you in life?