Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Babe On The Freeway

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

July 8, 2006

This essay, Babe On The Freeway, is the companion piece to Alexandra.

It is also is the second in a group of sixteen about my daughter Alexandra:
  1. Alexandra
  2. Babe On The Freeway
  3. Light In The Night
  4. Alexandra II
  5. Santa Barbara
  6. True Gold
  7. Goleta Beach
  8. Getting Into Your World
  9. Fly Baby Bird!
  10. Celebration At Essaouira
  11. The Woman She Creates Herself To Be
  12. City Girl
  13. Vocal Prowess
  14. Lost And Found: A Tale Of Ownership, Loss, And Triumph
  15. Girly Girl
  16. My Baby Girl, Now A Bride
in that order.

I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt who inspired this conversation.

Today I watched my darling Alexandra drive out of my driveway with an instructor, taking her first driving lesson.

It was only yesterday the babe slipped out of the womb into my waiting hands, looking me dead in the eye saying "Hello! I was expecting you. Now can we get on with life please?".

Now she's driving on the freeway. Where does the time go?

It's said when your children reach four years old they've learned all the values they'll ever learn from you. By that reckoning my job as a Dad ended eleven years ago. At fifteen she's almost an adult in an almost adult body. And now she's driving a vehicle which weighs more than a ton and can reach speeds of over a hundred miles an hour in a confined space filled with other vehicles which also weigh more than a ton and which can also reach speeds of over a hundred miles an hour.

It's disconcerting, to say the least.

I've taught her to be careful. But will she realize it's the other drivers  who may not be? I've shown her how to be thorough. But will she be ready for those unaccounted for situations on the freeway which come as complete surprises? I've explained to her how to be courteous. But will she put her attention - in time  - on inconsiderate drivers she shares the road with? I've impressed on her her responsibility  of being a driver. But will she react to and evade those drivers for whom responsibility means nothing?

God, take care of my daughter please ...

I've given her everything I think she should know. I've shared the values with her I think have worth. Yet sometimes I ask myself: to what avail? The world is full of people whose life choices were to their own detriment, indeed to the detriment of many others. Did those peoples' parents care about them any less then I care about my daughter? Did those peoples' parents have any lesser hopes for them than I have for my daughter? Did those peoples' parents love them any less than I love my daughter?

Could it be the only lasting thing  I can really contribute to my daughter is a sense of Self, a sense of who she really is?  She'll develop it anyway, to one degree or another. But I want to ensure I reflect it, I validate it. That's what I see is arguably Job #1  I was born to do as her parent.

Will she stop at all red traffic lights? That's up to her. Will she drive carefully? I won't always be there to tell. Will she have the smarts to handle sudden changes in traffic conditions, keeping herself and her passengers out of harms way? One thing's for certain: I can't do it for her. If never finding herself in a dangerous situation is the luck of the dice, will the dice roll well for her?

This juncture she's now at is her real birth as a human being. This is the birth of her responsibility, of her onus, of her taking charge. The babe is on the freeway and she's driving herself now.

I can only stand on the median and applaud.

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