Driving In Cars With Boys
If your son is anything like my almost 17 year old, generally the most communication you get from them is a grunt or some mumbled response that you need a braille machine to decipher. Being an avid communicator I find this some what frustrating and a challenge to keep our connection strong and meaningful. Since I cannot talk with any indepth knowledge of the right body boarding conditions or what motor bike is the best, finding complimentary topics that interest us both and that don’t revolve around the mundane, has me wracking my brain for inspiration.
Well I have discovered a new secret weapon. Driving! My son is clocking up his 100 hours which equates to plenty of one on one time in the car. In his book ‘Raising Boys’ Steve Biddulph suggests that if you want to have meaningful conversations with boys then don’t sit them down in front of you and try and make eye contact and conversation. Too threatening. You are better off engaging in an activity where you can ‘work’ or ‘play’ side by side. They will be much more open to talking in this scenario. And of course learning to drive is the perfect example of this.
While we have been negotiating the road rules and traffic we have talked about everything from girlfriends, his guy friends, school, dreams, religion, expectations, perfection, growing up, drugs and alcohol and of course body boards and motor bikes. It is not every time we get in the car but the topics seem to emerge organically. So as much as it can be a pain clocking up and keeping tabs on the hours, I am treasuring the time we are sharing. I finally feel as though our bond has strengthened again and I know him a little better.
Soon the 100 hours will be up and he will be driving by his-self and in fact I will probably see less and less of him as he ventures out into the adult world. I hope that in retrospect he will value the time we spent driving in cars and will know he can come to me if ever he needs. It looks like I may have to take up body boarding so we can have some ‘ocean conversations’ too.
Natalie Hennessey is creatrix of Spirited Women’s Network, an online directory and calendar of transformation workshops and events and Ruby Moon Dreaming, a one-on-one sistering business to assist women in rediscovering their sacred and sassy selves.