8 Phrases You'll Say When Your Teen's Behind the Wheel (and What They Really Mean)

What can I say that would be simple, but stick with him? Can the principles that apply to driving also apply to life?

Sitting in the passenger seat with my teenage son behind the wheel was terrifying. The weather was worsening as we sped along the freeway. I thought my foot might make a hole in the floorboard and I wanted to grab the steering wheel. I kept looking over my shoulder and, in my mother-knows-best voice, I started spouting driving commands at him. I was trying to be helpful, but my voice was frantic.

“Mom,” my son challenged, “you’re not helping.” 

He was right. After those few minutes of craziness and, thankfully, our freeway exit, I started to laugh at myself and the situation.

My son is an excellent driver, but it’s so hard to let go and lose control. Before long he will be alone, not just on the roads, but out in the world. These driving sessions are quickly becoming one of my last chances to give him advice. Is he prepared? Have I given him all he needs to tackle not only the roads, but the roads of life? What can I say that would be simple, but stick with him? Can the principles that apply to driving also apply to life?

So, my son, remember me sitting next to you, these phrases, and what they really mean pertaining to life.

1 | Do you know where you’re going?

Don’t just wander through life being blown by the wind. Map your goals and go for them. You really can become whatever you desire to be, and you will become whatever you purposely roll into. You have a foundation. Stand on it. You’ll meet people that might try to throw you off track, but choose for yourself. Choose wisely.

2 | Keep with the flow of traffic

Time is precious, don’t become stagnant. Remember, stagnant stinks. Life is meant to be lived, not wasted away, so keep moving forward.

3 | Look both ways and check again.

A double check on the really important decisions is always a good idea. Get advice from other people you respect such as a close friend or relative. It could save you a lot of trouble later. It’s what smart people do.

4 | Don’t forget your turn signal

Don’t be ashamed of who you are or any decision you make. Weigh your options. If it’s the right decision, you’ll be proud of it.

5 | Let that car cut in

Smile and be generous. You don’t always have to be first. Try to help others when you can and don’t expect a payback. It’s the little things that count.

6 | U-turns

Roads that once looked like a great idea sometimes later prove to be a poor choice. Go ahead and make a u-turn. Sometimes you need to make a change. Do it.

7 | Check your mirrors

It’s called a blind spot for a reason. A second look is necessary because that first look can’t take in the whole picture. Life can be like that too. Our circumstances or emotions can hinder our viewpoint. Clear your mind and make informed decisions.

8 | Slow down

Time will slip through your fingers and you won’t even realize it. Consider how you’re spending your time. Are you doing the things you value? Life goes by like the fast lane, don’t miss it. True friends will have your best interest in mind. Seek them out for support and camaraderie.

Gone are the toy trucks and Legos underfoot. Bicycle and school bus days are over too. Soon you’ll be driving to school, work, or to meet friends. Maybe if you’re lucky, you might find yourself on your way to pick up a date. As you take the wheel in the car, take hold of your life, keep to the “rules of the road,” and success is in your hands.

You have what it takes to make it on your journey of life. I believe in you.