Tuesday, March 29

A New Skill

I watch my boys acquire new skills - seemingly daily.  And I'm always encouraging them (mostly Jonah) to be courageous and try new things (he is naturally risk-adverse and not keen on change).  I always tell him the worst thing that can happen is that it doesn't work out and then we'll try again.  

Well, I've just had the opportunity to add a new skill to my repertoire.  I love to try new things when it is in the kitchen, at the sewing machine, traveling, or teaching the boys... but this new skill really stretched me and has given me a bit more empathy with my boys as they seek to learn so many things that probably do feel rather risky to them.
Yes, that's right, I learned how to drive a manual car.  I have a lot of anxiety around driving in general, so there was probably only one thing in the world that could have made me learn this skill; we were given a manual car by a family leaving this winter.  After a very long and rather isolated winter I said 'yes, we'll take it' and comforted myself with the fact that 16-year-olds learn how to do drive manuals all the time.  

We are sharing the car 50/50 with another family here and they kindly watched our kids and gave us driving lessons.  The night before my first driving lesson I had a vision of me stalling the car over and over - weeping and crying out in defeat "I just can't do it!"  I'm happy to report that the first lesson went nothing like that.  Who knew, that driving the tractor to pick up hay (where I had to ease off the clutch so people and haybales didn't go flying off the wagon) would have prepared me so well.  I didn't typically change gears on the tractor, but the feeling of easing off the clutch was the same, and learning to drive a stick really wasn't too painful.  

I'm now driving around town and it is wonderful to be able to do a big grocery run once a week!  Aside from that, it hasn't changed our weekly rhythm as we love our car-less lifestyle, but we are looking forward to some more coastal outings, Scottish tourism and perhaps some camping this summer.
But, I think that the best thing about this experience was going so far out of my comfort zone to learn something new.  It gave me more empathy with my little men who relish learning new things, but at times show a bit of timidity about it as well.  It gave me a bit more understanding of what I'm asking Jonah when I encourage him to courageously try new things.   And I'm not going to stop encouraging him, but I hope I'm going to be just a little more attentive and patient in the process.


Stephen, Haley and baby Isla said...

Glad you learned to drive the standard!! And glad for you that you have access to a car. Even if you don't use it regularly, its such a mental boost knowing you aren't trapped (plus the small outings are SO nice!). I definitely can say I miss our mostly carless lifestyle now that we are back in the land of driving EVERYWHERE!!

Hope y'all are well! Spring is coming!!!


Kristy D. said...

Good for you Emily! I've never driven a manuel car....well, dad did give me one lesson when I was a teen. I was a reluctant learner and haven't tried again. I'll try again...someday!

The Egan Family said...

Yay! Patrick taught me to drive stick when we were engaged, and while I was nervous at first, I came to love it. Our junky van in Scotland was a manual, and it was really helpful with all the hills. Have fun!