The other day my 17-year-old asked me to teach him how to drive, of course, I said yes I will teach you. I started to think about how this is one of the father-son bonding moments. You know those moments like teaching him to play a sport or having that first talk about girls. Teaching him how to drive would be a memory that lasts forever, we would laugh at his mistakes and rejoice when he finally get the hang of it. These are the times in life when you enjoy being a parent when it just you and your son having a good time joking and laughing with one another. I went to his room and told him to go online and start studying the driver’s manual so he can go get his permit as soon as possible. After he gets the permit we can start his driving lessons.
A few days later my son came to me again and said he has finished reading the driver’s manual and he is ready to take the test. I said are you sure you are ready he said I am more than ready. I told him good we will go next week to the Department of Motor Vehicles so he can take the test. A couple of hours after this conversation my son returns, he asks me “ Dad after I pass the driver’s test, graduate from High School and starts College can you buy me a car?” I said, of course, we can get you a used car for when you go away to college. My son hug, thank me and left the room.
As soon as my son left the room a chill came over my body and my mind instantly went to Philando Castile. A fear came over me that I have never felt before I did not want my son to learn how to drive anymore. A moment that is supposed to be one of the best moments between a father and his son was taken away from me. My dream of reliving the time spent teaching my son how to drive car may not be that enjoyable to me anymore because I will always fear for his safety.
I know everyone will say you cannot let that stop you from living your life and enjoying special moments with your child. I know I will enjoy teaching him how to drive and we will have special memories from these times but there will be that fear lingering in the background. Other parents have the fear of the children getting into car accidents but as black parents, we have the additional fear of him encountering the wrong policer officer while driving. I am not going to let him know about my fears but I know I will not be able to sleep at night when he gets his car.