Tag Archives: Do The Right Thing

Distraction Drama Dismay

The twitchier I get, the more inventive I get.

What with the youngest dude, Hyper Lad, starting to get behind the wheel now that he’s 15, I’m probably more twitchy then I’ve ever been when I consider having to teach this guy how to drive.

I feel like one of those short-timers from any movie about Vietnam. As the date they will rotate home gets closer and closer, they get more and more paranoid about something happening to them before they get out.

I’ve made it through teaching two other young dudes how to drive, but now that the last one is come around, I’m starting to freak out more than I ever have before.

Fortunately for me, I actually have made it through two other driving debuts so I do have a couple of tricks in my bag.

The first big trick in the bag is repetition, which is the trick I take out of the bag first. This is one trick I have been using for a long time with things like texting. Knowing I have/had three sponges sitting behind me, I make sure to loudly and often refer to the fact that I got a text, but can’t read it because I was driving. Or I will ask one of them to read aloud the text and respond.

They have heard again and again, seen again and again and again, that they should not text and drive. I get the feeling that they’re more likely than not to follow in those footsteps, if only to avoid having to hear me talk about it again and again and again and again. . .

Since the spawn couldn’t see my face while I was driving and they riding, I made sure to continually talk about how I was keeping my eyes on the road even when I had to change the radio or something similar. I recommend them getting to know their car/dashboard well enough that they don’t have to look to hit the radio buttons.

While this next step might be corny, I think it really does work. Before I allowed any of the young dudes to drive on their own, I sat them down and went over point by point exactly what was expected of them. For each point, they had to tell me specifically that they would not or would do that point. You also can do the same thing in a written contract they must sign.

Include repercussions that will occur to the young driver should he or she violate the terms of the promise/agreement. And enforce those terms.

While not necessarily distracting, one thing I have made sure they know is something that my mom made me understand. If I was ever out with friends and either I, as driver, or my friend, as driver, had been drinking, I could call my mom and she would pick everyone up, no matter the time, and never say another word about it.

I only ever called her once, but she was true to her word. I’ve made sure that my young dudes understand that as well. If there is any sign of impairment, they always know they have a free, safe ride without any sort of blowback for them. Knowing that we trust them enough that we’ll offer that kind of thing, actually helps them to do the right thing because they want to live up to that trust.

Or at least that was how I felt when I was on the other end of the bargain.

In North Carolina, new drivers aren’t allowed to stuff the car with their friends. Neither are new drivers with the last name of Jones, who live in Casa de Dude. We make it a point for our young dudes to understand that their first job as drivers is to make their way from Point A to Point B safely. Bringing along anyone else is way, way down the list.

Friends in the car can be even more distracting than driving by a 10-car pile-up of a circus truck, a shipment from a marble factory and a funeral home for mimes.

The two big takeaways from this would have to be make sure you model good driving behavior and communicate with your neophyte driver, which means both of you talk and both of you listen.

Distraction starts behind the eyeballs. Fortunately, safety does as well, so make sure there’s more room for safety.

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Come On, Baby, Light My Fire

by Richard

No, we’re not getting that far into the Stones here today. Actually, I wanted to talk about something a bit opposite of the title, but I just couldn’t resist. Fire safety.

Not too scary. But if you’re not up on fire safety, you could be in for a very scary time.

Speaking of scary, here’s a scary thought. Four out of five fire deaths in America occur in the home. However, less than a quarter of all American families have a fire safety plan that they practice on a regular basis.

By fire safety plan, I’m talking about things as simple as what to do when there’s a fire in your house. Do you run out the front door or the back door? Do you know what to do if there’s a fire behind a closed door? If there’s a fire in your house, do you and the rest of the family have a designated place to meet? Do you know how to fight a grease fire? Are the right kinds of fire extinguishers in your house? Are they charged? Do you have smoke detectors? Are their batteries working?

All of these are simple questions to answer and simple precautions to take, but if you don’t, you’re talking a seriously bad time.

However, I come bearing good news. You can find a whole bunch of links here to help your family and all the little dudes create your fire safety plan and how best to practice and rehearse so you’ll know what to do in the event a fire does break out.

The links at Fire Science Degree can show you how to encourage kids and adults to do the right thing in case of a fire. It’s well worth a look. I know I’m going to be busy there in the coming days.

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Real Life Super Heroes

Other than my parents, I credit super heroes with helping me form most of my own moral code. Might doesn’t make right. Help those weaker than yourself. It’s not all about you. Do the right thing. All that sort of stuff. When I was a younger little dude, I even wanted to be a super hero, but I couldn’t talk my mom into making me a costume. And, really, without a costume, what’s the point of being a super hero?

So, yes, I did grow out of my desire to become a super hero. Others, however, didn’t. No seriously. There are people out there right now, dressing up in costumes and masks, taking on colorful names and heading out into the street to fight crimes. Suddenly, I don’t feel so much like a geek any more.

I guess it’s kind of like watching soap operas: No matter how badly your life is going, at least you’re not as bad off as most of the so-called beautiful people on the soaps. And, no matter how geeky I might seem to some folks, at least I’m not killing myself trying to leap from rooftop to rooftop.

They call themselves Real Life Super Heroes and, apparently, they’re part of a growing trend. Rolling Stone actually had a recent article about them, highlighting a RLSH named Master Legend. And, you know, if Rolling Stone writes about them, they must be important

Maybe it’s just me, but some people really shouldn’t be allowed within a city block of spandex, much less inside it.

Still, you have to give it up to them a little bit. They’re out there trying to make their neighborhoods into better places. I’m not sure they’re doing much good, but I’m sure they’re enjoying it and it’s something positive.

Of course, I wouldn’t want my little dudes to become super heroes like that. For one thing, it’s always the hero’s family that gets targeted by the arch nemesis and I just don’t need that kind of hassle.

— Richard

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