As regular readers of my blog have probably noticed, I am a non-driver. When I was young we never had the extra money for drivers' ed, or the added insurance, or any of the other expenses of driving to learn. Later when I tried I realized I just couldn't. My husband on the other hand, grew up in the country where the only public transit was a school bus, and people drove everywhere because everything was miles away. During those times when the car was sitting in the driveway awaiting repairs, I was in far better shape than he was. When the kids came along I was determined to make sure they knew how to function in both city and country.
Leaving dad to deal with the driving end, I began teaching my kids how to get around the city. We didn't just board the bus, I explained where we were going and how we were getting there. The Boy's first word was "bus". He referred to my sister's minivan as "My aunt's bus." This detailed oriented child knew where every bus in the city went by the time he was 6. He knew the entire timetable for our local buses too. My daughter, while not as fond of buses as her brother, knew how to get the bus to and from school when necessary, and happily went along with me when the alternative was staying at home.
When she complained occasionally about my non driving, I pointed out that a girl who wants to be in a dance company someday should probably know how to get around on public transit in a big city, since that's where most of the dance companies are.
It wasn't just the city buses either. We have taken numerous trips by both Amtrak and Greyhound, and when arriving in a strange city have figured out how to make the transit work there too. They know how to take shuttle buses from big cities to smaller towns, and how to get around a really big city on subways. Other than the initial haul all the gear trip to the college, he will probably make his own way back and forth all year.
Both kids plan to relocate to other areas of the country someday. The boy is going off to college to a suburban town an hour out of a really big city. He already has worked out all the available public bussing options, from how to get to Walmart to how to get to the Greyhound terminal. The girl already has her eyes on the bright lights and the big cities. She will know all about how to get around.
There is this as well: I believe that driving the way Americans drive at present is not going to be sustainable for the next generation. Gas is only going to be more expensive, greenhouse gasses more of a concern. If our kids can learn there are alternatives to taking the car 1/2 a mile to the grocery store, they will be far better prepared to adapt in the future.
I taught my kids to use public transit and I am proud (and glad) that I did.
This post is part of Theme Thursday, a group of bloggers writing on a different topic each week. This week we were asked to write about something we are proud of. To find out what other writers are proud of, or to tell about something you are proud of, click on the link below.