Saturday, January 14, 2012

Behind the wheel

As I passed the local high school on my way to an appointment, I was pretty blown away by the number of cars in the school parking lot. When my sons were in high school, it had been packed! Now it is only about half full or even less. This is a significant shift in philosophy..... and probably also influenced by the economic situation. Fewer teens are driving to school, though I'm sure many are still driven there because I have been there at the "wrong" times and gotten stuck in the traffic jam in front of the school.

What a rat race we have created! And I was swept into the race as a child. Raised in San Diego, you could hardly go anywhere without wheels.... and I don't mean a bicycle. So the car became a need. I got my license when I was 16 and an old Morris Minor and used it to get to work. I guess my parents paid the insurance, because I don't remember doing that, but I paid for my gas and soon was paying my way for quite a few things (of course, everything cost much less then). And I loved the freedom.

Until a few years ago, when asked if I wanted to walk somewhere.....often I would say, "If you're driving I'll go." Today, walking is part of my regular routine. This included walking to the local grocery store or mall. And I often walk to the movies. Of course, I am very fortunate to live within a mile or so of these places. We used to dream of living out in the country, but now we are very glad to live in town. And today I recognize that this gives me another kind of freedom, Certainly I use my car just about daily because I still have commitments that take me further from home, but I drive less, and walk more.

So what messages are we giving our children about cars and driving? With fuel being burned much faster than we can produce it, what will the future look like for our children and grandchildren? What else can give us a sense of freedom? Life is a journey, and it seems to me our mode of transportation along the was does make a difference.

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