Rob and I had the delight of getting to know Tiffany Jo Baker last fall at a training conference for Christian communicators. Tiffany exudes joy, and she inspired us to grab hold of joy for ourselves through her message. She has the unique ability to see God’s loving hand beneath the surface of her circumstances. And, through her faith and unique ministry as a surrogate mom, she celebrates kids (even her new teen driver!), and families in a powerful, oh-so-personal way.
Thank you, Tiffany, for sharing your heart and wisdom with us here on the blog today!
8 Real-Life Lessons from a Mom with a New Teen Driver
We are in “that” phase of parenthood. You know, the one that could cause grown women to cry and men to hide when their teen comes around the corner smiling and almost skipping with your keys in hand.
Hopefully, like me, your teenage driver is excited about driving, is responsible, and carries an appropriate amount of self-confidence. We really couldn’t ask for more in this process. Our daughter has been saving money for a car since the age of 12, so this is a big deal to her and she treats it as such.
What surprised me throughout her driver’s education was all I learned about myself and life from the process. I wasn’t even involved much, since I strategically encouraged my husband to be the designated parent-teacher from the beginning. (Between you and me, that was one of my smarter parenting moves.)
Yet even during the limited time I’ve had as the parent-teacher, I managed to have eight “aha moments” about driving and life while our newly-permitted daughter was behind the wheel of my car. I can’t help it. As a life coach, thoughts like this just happen. Our girls don’t always appreciate my nuggets, so I thought I would share them with you here:
1. There are two types of drivers/people.
Those who take life and traffic on in the moment, as it comes flying at you, and those who strategically plan for what’s coming up ahead. (Of course, as in the case of many relationships, my husband is type one and I am type two.) When we can distinguish which type of child we are raising, it helps us to parent better.
2. Merging is like having manners on the road.
It’s important that we prefer others and play/drive nice. Since our children were toddlers and learning to share their toys, we have been instilling this lesson. It’s a life-long skill.
3. Curbs/boundaries are there for a reason.
They protect you from ditches, dirt, and detours. (I have to admit I’m affectionately known as “The Curbinator” in select circles.) What other needed boundaries do you have in place for your teen?
4. No one likes construction or growth.
Construction slows us down in order to speed us up later. If you have a go-getter child, this can be a difficult lesson. Sharing this real-world example can be so powerful.
5. We all accelerate and brake differently.
Some like to ride the brake and some the gas, but either way we will get where we need to go. Praise your child’s unique strengths.
6. Everyone on the road has a destination.
Each destination is important to the individual driver. Teaching and modeling empathy to our children is of critical importance.
7. Road rage is real, but it’s not about what just happened.
Something started the rage long before it went ballistic on the highway. Helping our children learn to identify and deal with hurts and unmet expectations before they grow out of control is vital to their emotional health and well-being (not to mention how it will affect those around them).
8. Prayer is crucial for life.
And prayer is important any time you get in a car, especially with a teen driver! Make prayer a part of your family traditions, just like buckling your seatbelt.
There are so many natural correlations between life and driving. The two that stand out the most to me are #1 and #5: There are no two people or drivers alike. God has uniquely made each us of with the gifts and talents we need to do what He created us to do to and get where we need to go. Never underestimate your uniqueness. Maybe you drive in the moment. Maybe you drive heavy on the brake. The way you live, see life, and drive is unique to you.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)
But God didn’t create you to do life all by yourself or to drive alone. There are people in your life who God has strategically put in your path. Maybe you need to seek them out in this season to add another perspective.
It’s easy to let our differences cause division (like when I’m in the car with my “drive in the moment” husband and I’m a “plan for what’s coming ahead” kind of driver). It’s easy to let differences frustrate you, but we can choose not to let it. Begin to value the unique qualities you each bring to your relationship. Let it add to your view to help fuel and fulfill your faith journey.
“For where two or three gathered together in My name,
there am I with them.”
As we navigate each new season of our lives with the people He has blessed us with, let us do so with His grace and filter. We may not know every exit, detour, or destination on our journey ahead, but we do know the One who does.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to Him
and He will make your paths straight.”
I leave you with one final life and driving nugget: Don’t travel alone. Always invite God to take the wheel.
Tiffany Jo Baker is a caffeinated mom of two teen girls, surrogate mom of five (two sets of twins + 1), mom to two furbabies (dog and bunny), and wife to one outdoorsman. As a 3x surrogate and goal-getter, she thrives as a Right-Hand Woman, Dream Carrier, and Dream Project Manager for entrepreneurs, ministry leaders, and couples dealing with infertility. So whatever your life dreams may be, whether it’s a baby, business, blog, or “bae,” your time with Tiffany will increase your faith, give you a path to follow, and help propel you into your future. Find out what Tiffany is doing at tiffanyjobaker.com and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.