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The "New" Car
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Photo: Studiomill
My youngest son now owns a car. He is nineteen. The car is only a year younger than he is. It was a one-owner car, owned by close friends. They bought it when their sons were old enough to drive. Both sons—now grown and on their own—learned to drive in that car, and used it while in college. 

Once their sons graduated the car was a spare. These friends knew my youngest son was going to college in the fall, and needed transportation. They did not need the old car any longer, so they gave it to him. It is a subcompact station wagon. Not cool, just practical transportation. To him, age and lack of “cool,” is unimportant.  The air conditioner does not work, and there is no power anything , but it is his pride. It is his car. That makes it the best car in the world. 

What impressed me was his treatment of his new car. Since it was his car, he felt that he should pay the insurance on it. It turns out that he—a teen-aged male—would pay more for insurance on that one car than I would pay for insurance on all of our cars if I added it to my policy.  We agreed he could pay me the difference between my old rate, without his car and the new rate with his car on my policy.

Responsibility to Know

After he got the car home, he spent an afternoon cleaning the car, completely, and followed that up the next day waxing his car. It is now shinier than our newest car. He made arrangements to have a mechanic check the car out. The maintenance on the car was current. It even had a new Texas inspection certificate. But it was now his car, and an owner has a responsibility to know about a car.

I asked him why he felt that way. He looked at me and said, “That’s what you do every time you get a car. But this car is mine. That means I am supposed to do those things not you.”

He showed me once again that the most powerful example in a child’s life is the one set by his parents.  Do the right thing when your children are growing up, and when they are grown, they too, do the right thing.

The next day he took the car to the community college he attends to get it registered as a student car. I told him to use the car he had been driving until the semester ended. He wanted to take his car, so mom would have a car during the day—one not as old as her youngest son. He called at lunchtime. He had left the lights on. When you take out the key a 1992 car does not beep if you leave your lights on. His battery was dead. He needed a jump start.

I was amused. I had done the exact same thing in the past. He was just following the example I had set.  Again.

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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