Oh, to be 15 again. I can remember being 15 and looking forward to getting my driver’s license like it was yesterday. 

At that point in my life, getting my driver’s license was the No. 1 thing on my list. I can also remember the nerves of steel it took to tolerate my mom and dad teaching me how to drive. I can remember being so very nervous to begin with, not to mention having my mom or dad in the passenger seat. 

Going down the road in a 1965 Chevy Impala without power steering and drum brakes was tough enough, but having my mom or dad right there made it even tougher.

All I can remember about my first drive is the long grocery list of rules my mom and dad laid down just before the drive. Things like: Don’t forget to use your turn signals, leave the radio alone, don’t touch this, don’t touch that, turn here, turn there and slow down. 

Grabbing that great big steering wheel with my flimsy little arms trying to muscle the steering wheel was very tough and challenging. As I recall, it seemed like I had to start turning the steering wheel at least 100 yards before every turn in order to make turns. I can also remember thinking I can’t wait to drive on my own without my mom or dad in the passenger seat yelling out instructions.

Every time I see a parent teaching their teenager how to drive, it brings back such fond memories of my first drive. That first drive is now one of my most cherished memories. At the time, all I could think of was myself, and how annoyed I was having my mom or dad right there in the passenger seat. 

But now, when I think about it, I realize that my mom and dad were taking a big chance for little ole me, their second-born son. My mom and dad risked their lives in order to teach me how to drive. I now understand how truly nerve racking my first drive must have been for them. 

Knowing what I know about driving now, I know firsthand what it takes and feels like to sit in the passenger seat of someone’s first drive.

So, to dads and moms everywhere, thanks for risking your lives for your kids. Each time I see a parent teaching their child how to drive, I now understand and appreciate what they’re going through. So, to my mom and dad, I apologize for not appreciating what you did for me at the time, but keep in mind, I was just a skinny kid who thought he knew everything. I now know that I don’t and didn’t have a clue at the time. 

So, to all moms and dads, thanks so much. We love you! 

Kenny Martin is the City Manager/Economic Development for the City of Mt. Juliet.

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