Constitution, driver's license manual merge in family 'laws'

January 06, 2011|Lisa Prejean

Lately my son has been studying two government documents that are very different in nature: The Constitution and “All You Need to Know about Your Driver’s License.”

The first document was eloquently written in 1787 and provides the foundation for our government.

The second document was written in 2003 and prepares young drivers for the road.

My son’s motivation for studying the first is two-fold. He is taking a U.S. History class and he is working on a scholarship essay about the Constitution.

While studying the driver’s license handbook, he has suggested ways of making the writing more understandable. I tell him to keep studying and mentally re-writing the handbook. It will take him longer to earn his permit, his license, be on the road ....

Part of me wants my son to get his driver’s license so my mom taxi days are over.

Another part of me doesn’t want him to get his driver’s license so my mom taxi days never end.

I’m not quite ready for this transition, but many years ago I vowed to enjoy each stage in my children’s lives.

So, we are at a crossroads. It’s a fitting time to establish some guidelines.

Here goes:

“We the people of this unified house, in order to form a more perfect family, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for defensive driving, promote your general well-being, secure the blessings of our insurance company and our bank account, do ordain and establish this constitution for the young driver in our household.

“All behind-the-wheel powers herein granted shall be vested in a dual council, which shall consist of Dad and Mom.

“Mom does not have to be elected because she gave birth to you, and, yes, she is older than 25, has been a citizen of the United States for more than seven years and lives in the state where you will be driving.(So be careful.)

“Mom hopes you don’t have to speak to an officer, but if you do, be respectful. Remember, Mom has the power to impeach you ... err, take away the keys.

“Dad doesn’t have to be elected because he was there when you were born and he gained an adequate amount of sympathy pounds when Mom was pregnant with you. Yes, he is older than 30, has been a citizen of the United States longer than nine years and lives in the state where you will be driving. (He also has been driving longer than you have been alive.)

“The dual council will assemble to discuss your performance immediately following each trip you take. By the time you’re 25, these meetings should be less frequent.

“The dual council may determine the rules of its privileges and driving proceedings, and punish the young driver for disorderly behavior behind the wheel.

“The dual council also may keep a journal of proceedings, and from time to time publish the same in a newspaper column.

“The dual council shall receive a compensation for services. You can drive us to doctors’ appointments in our old age.

“The young driver shall not enter into any treaty, alliance or confederation with another young driver that could endanger the lives of the parties involved.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all young drivers’ skills are not created equal but are endowed by their parents with a certain unalienable right, to know one thing above all else.

“Because we love you and want the best for you, we will pray for you as you are out and about. Just try to be understanding when we seem over-protective — or when we end our constitution with your declaration of independence.”


Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail’s Family page. Send e-mail to her at

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