What am I, many a dad has asked their kid, your chauffeur? What do you think I am, an Uber driver? It’s understandable—it can be a pain to drive your kids around. To daycare. To school. To a friend’s house. To a doctor’s appointment. To soccer practice. Sometimes it can feel like this is all parenting is—driving a little person around… for free.
But a smart dad doesn’t see this as an obligation. Instead, they see it as a gift. For a bunch of reasons. First off, this is exactly the kind of “garbage time” that Jerry Seinfeld talked about. Every minute doesn’t have to be special—you don’t have to seek out “quality time.” Twenty minutes in the car can be something you share and remember forever.
Secondly, how often do you get this kind of captive audience? You guys are stuck together! This is wonderful. This is what you wanted, right? An opportunity to connect? To bond? To have fun? So use it!
Third, as many dads with older kids will tell you, something changes when kids are in the car with you. Suddenly, you’re not the parent. You’re just a companion, a fellow human being equalized by traffic. Kids will share and say things in the car they wouldn’t anywhere else. Or better, if their friends are with them in the car too, you fade into the background and suddenly you can watch how your kid is with other people. It’s like you’re a detective watching through one-way glass. You’ll learn things about your own son and daughter that you’d never know otherwise. You’ll get a glimpse into who they are in a way they could never articulate to you directly.
The point is: Driving your kids around is a privilege. It’s an opportunity. Only an idiot would complain about it. A great dad would volunteer. Because they know what they get out of the experience. Because they know what they can do with those minutes—or hours—in the car.
P.S. This was originally sent on October 30, 2019. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”