Before iPods and TV’s in cars, the passengers’ only source of entertainment was either an Etch-A-Sketch or looking out the window.  In my generation (black and white TV’s were the rage!), we looked out the window.  So, segue to the present.  My daughter is learning to drive and the other day I suggested we drive to the high school, since as a senior, she’d be driving to the school once she got her license.  Might as well practice.  “Which way do I go?” she asked when we reached the intersection near our house.  “What?” I replied.  I was sure I misheard.  “Which way do I turn?”  In total shock, I proceeded to give my daughter the directions to the building she has been attending for the past three and a half years.  Surely, there was a big problem here.  Do I call the doctor?  No, I kept it close, and didn’t tell a soul.

I wonder if this gal knows the way to her high school..

Earbuds and future drivers don’t mix.

Until I was speaking to the very nice lady who runs the driving school she’s attending.  “I have to say this,” I whispered into the phone.  “She didn’t know the way to the high school…should I be worried?” To that, she laughed.

“Mrs. Goff, these kids don’t even know the way to their own house!” Phew.  Was I relieved! But not for long.

“Really,” she explained.  “These kids have their iPods in their ears from day 1, and they aren’t looking where the bus is taking them.  Some of them don’t know how to get to their own house when their lesson is done.”

Holy moly! I thought.  These are the future drivers of America!  We’re going to have a whole new generation of drivers who’ll not only be tempted to text, but will NOT KNOW WHERE THE HECK THEY’RE GOING!  Will they start hesitating at green lights, wondering whether to go left or right?  Will they suddenly stop in the middle of Route 17 when they realize they’ve passed the mall?

“What should I do?” I asked the nice driving instructor lady.  “Insist she take out the earbuds  when she is the car with you, and pay attention to road signs, directions to places.  And ask questions, like, “did you just notice those kids playing over there?”  Things like that.

If you have kids learning to drive, you might have experienced what I did.  And know that you are in good company.