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Teachable moments

Published February 08. 2014 09:00AM

As most of you know, I am not a big fan of watching football on TV.

Despite that fact, my husband and I decided to go watch the big game with a few friends last Sunday. (Being with friends makes it somewhat less painful.)

On our way there, I noticed a car pulled over on the side of the road in an unlit area.

I looked back to see what was going on and saw that two individuals were attempting to fix a flat tire.

I told hubby that we should probably go back and see if they needed a hand.

"But we will miss the start of the game," he said.

The horror, I thought to myself.

"Yeah, but it's the right thing to do and it is really dark there," I replied.

Despite his desire to go watch the game, hubby turned the car around and drove back to the disabled vehicle and pulled up directly behind them.

There I saw a young girl, who turned out to be 16 years of age, struggling to loosen the lug nuts off the wheel while her father used a cell phone to provide a little bit of light.

After assessing the situation, I asked the pair if they needed a hand or the benefit of our car lights to aid in their efforts.

The gentleman said that the car lights would be of great help.

At first glance, one might think it was odd or perhaps even wrong for dad to just be standing there while his young daughter was having great difficulty changing the tire; however, what this really was, was a great dad taking advantage of a teachable moment.

Turns out, the teen had struck the curb with her tire while negotiating a curve.

The father informed her that since she caused the flat tire, she was going to fix the flat tire.

I watched and listened as he patiently instructed her on what to do step by step.

Clearly, she was not strong enough to loosen the nuts with just her arms; but her father let her keep trying despite her grunts and her growing frustration.

I was so impressed with what I was seeing happening before me.

How easy it would have been for him to just do it for her.

Instead, she was receiving a valuable life lesson; and one that will one day serve her well.

After he had allowed her to struggle long enough using her arms, her father showed her how to utilize her body weight by using her foot to crank the lug wrench.

Although her progress was slow going, the girl finally managed to successfully change the flat.

She remarked that she was never going to do it again and instead would call for roadside assistance should the need arise.

I reminded her that not all areas have cell phone reception and that just a mile up the road is a dead zone and that were she to get a flat there, a phone call for assistance would not be possible.

She nodded in agreement.

So many of our teens and young adults lack even a basic understanding of life skills because parents of late tend to coddle them and do everything for them rather than teaching them how to deal with these things on their own.

I give a lot of credit to that dad for spending more time out in the cold than he had to, so that not only would his daughter learn how to change a flat, but also learn one consequence of careless or inattentive driving.

Benjamin Franklin once said, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."

I couldn't agree more.

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