Since my last blog Finn has taken and passed his theory test and booked his practical test. He has also been looking at cars. I am in a mild state of shock! He did very little preparation for his theory test. In fact, in the morning of the day he was due to take it, I was delivering a Standards Check training day in Salisbury and he was ringing me up at 8.30 asking about stopping distances, fog lights, reflective studs, flashing amber lights, tread depth and alcohol limits. His test was at 4.45pm and at 5.35pm he was back at home - a ten-minute walk from the theory test centre - ringing me up to announce he had passed.
Finn drives every day that I am at home. This interrupts my working day and leaves me frustrated and impatient to get back to my schedule. I pick him up and he drives home or he drives somewhere and I drive home so probably he is getting about twenty minutes a day. In addition to this he has had two more formal 'lessons' where we focused on roundabouts. We started off on quiet roundabouts and then progressed to busy ones. It was Finn's choice to focus on roundabouts and I encouraged him to think about something specific he would like to achieve. This was, like the first time, hard work but I persevered saying, 'well, if you think about the approach first, then going round and then the exiting, is there anything that causes you concern?' Fairly quickly he said about deciding when to go and I asked him about clues he could pick up on to know which way the traffic was going, but I knew he wasn't really listening and so we got the car moving as quickly as possible. I chose a route and we went around it twice. I didn't feel it was a great lesson and when I spoke to Finn about this he said, 'It wasn't really a lesson was it? I didn't really learn anything.' He said I didn't pull him in and discuss his progress enough ... and I thought, I can't win. He wanted to get going and didn't appear to want to stop to discuss.
On reflection, I realise it is very difficult to teach my son to drive. I am so torn between wanting him to take forever over this and recognising that he has great skills and abilities and that I am just wanting to hold him back. He is also self-aware and takes responsibility in his life. He makes his own decisions and thinks things through considering the consequences to his actions. I am reasonably sure he will be a thinking driver ... but will that be enough to keep him safe?