Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Parallel Parking And Other Rites Of Passage

My daughter is about to get her driver's license. Remembering my driving test, hearing from others, and of course knowing first-hand my two son's experiences, parallel parking is many would-be drivers nemesis. And so we practice parallel parking.

A course is marked off, traffic cones are set-up, an hour of time blocked out. It must be done. It is inevitable. We have to learn how to parallel park. Frustrations set in, encouragement morphs into rebuke, and sometimes tears are shed.

Many equate getting one's driver's license as a rite of passage. And it is. But I want to offer that parallel parking is a rite of passage also, for it seems that outside of parallel parking, taking the driving test is easy. And so we practice parallel parking.

And isn't life the same way? We assign significant value to events not realizing that the real value comes from what we invest in to achieve or experience those events. Our first part-time job, graduation from high school, getting into the college of our choice, landing our first job after graduation. Even scuba diving or running a marathon. Each of these require work.

I offer that we do not lose sight of the value of preparation for the events we experience in our lives, but even suggest that we celebrate the journey as much as the destination. For the real value of our character being built and the skills we refine are more important than the reward we receive.

And so we practice parallel parking.

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