When I was a teenager, I never got grounded. This was not because I didn’t get into plenty of trouble, but because my parents had an even better method of discipline: car rides with my dad where I got “a talking to”.
It’s genius actually. My dad would stuff me in the car and we would drive around Findlay for hours while he lectured me about the bad choices I made generally involving lying and boys. I couldn’t escape – we were moving 55 mph on US 224 half way to Fostoria. There was nothing else to distract me. No television. No phone. No computer. Just me and my dad having an awkward conversation.
I hated and loved these car rides at the same time. I hated the confrontation. I hated having to admit to lying, to doing something really stupid and getting caught. I hated these words “I’m so disappointed in you.”He would always spin the situation so I had to look at myself from another’s perspective. “Is that the kind of girl you want to be, Em?” he would ask me.
No I don’t want to be a sleazy slut, dad.I want you to be proud of me.
But other than the grueling hours of forced self examination, I generally loved the attention. For 2 hours I got to talk about… me. What a teenage girl’s dream! Who cares if this all started out with my getting caught with cigarettes in my purse! My dad isn’t paying attention to anyone but me right now! So simple, yet so effective. Soon I actually thought about my actions and what kind of person my behavior made me instead of just doing what felt fun and right at the time.
You got through to me at 16, Dad. You are a magician!
You have also given me loads of invaluable nuggets of wisdom.
18 of a Gazillion Things My Dad Taught Me
1. When driving, brake before the curve, accelerate through it if you want to drive like an F1 pro, which of course I do. (This is also great advice when playing racing video games, including Mario Kart.)
2. How to name that tune in 5 notes or less. “Who’s on the radio – quick quick before they start singing.” “Kris Kristofferson!”
3. You don’t have to read a non-fiction book in order. Chapter 16 seem like a good place to start? Why not?
4. Everyone in the world is just engaging in various forms and magnitudes of sucking up.
5. Listen to the lyrics.
6. Don’t peak too soon.
7. A conspiracy is just a group of people working together – therefore, it’s always a conspiracy.
8. Want to know what’s really going on? Follow the money trail.
9. There are few things in life that you have to do. Don’t get caught up and stressed out by meaningless things you think are obligations.
10. You don’t have to smile for photos. It’s perfectly fine to look absolutely dreadful even while wearing the sweetest sweatshirt of all time.
11. Find happiness somewhere. A good place to start is probably your family.
12. French toast is a perfectly acceptable dinner to make for your kids.
13. We’re all just programmed. You can’t escape your genetics.
14. It’s really not a big deal. Really.
15. “The easiest thing in the world to do is die.” What’s there to be afraid of?
16. It goes by fast.
17. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN get more liberal the older you get.
18. How to start a fire, though I never learned how to make a perfect boy scout fire:
Thanks for being an incredible dad, and an even better Papa.Happy 59th!