I am a woman who cares very little about cars. I literally grew up thinking a Honda Accord would be my dream car. I am way too practical. Insurance, gas, maintenance, and repairs are almost enough to make me consider bicycling as an option! Us Conlees, however, now have a Bugatti in our possession.
Until a year ago, I had never even heard of a Bugatti. (Having a teenage boy opens up lots of learning opportunities!) So, what are we doing with this smoking white Bugatti with black rims? We are trying everything we can to get it on the road without any dents, nicks, scratches, or accidents. Let me explain…
The truth is that even if a car gets a little beat up, it will probably still drive. But who wants to drive around with a cracked windshield or a dented fender? Who wants to own such an expensive vehicle, only to look at it from a window and watch a devious teenager key the car? No one. With such a cool car, who would want to risk skipping the oil changes and tire rotation? Not if you are smart!
Somehow this analogy seems to resonate with Mark, our son. His dream car is a Bugatti. As he enters his sophomore year, he is our Bugatti. He will (hopefully) never own one and neither will we, but it is our job to carry this young man into adulthood with as few scratches to the paint as possible. Sometimes when we say no, I remind him that our goal is to get him into adulthood with as few scars on his life as possible. We want him to navigate these formative years in such a way that he has no regrets. There are so many opportunities for him to test his freedoms and be tempted. There are times we have to give him room to build trust, but there are also times when we know that the environment lends itself to making choices that are not the wisest. Would he likely survive? Yes. Would the car still run? Sure. But our desire is so much more than an engine that functions.
If Mark had a Bugatti, he would try to park it where it’s protected from the elements and away from high traffic areas. (I might take this analogy to the next level and park Mark for the duration of high school if Chris would let me!) With such a vehicle, I am sure Mark would beg me for my spot in the garage. He would actually want to wash it and wax it. I think he would even go to a great extent to keep the inside clean and smelling new. Of course, the car may still run without this special treatment, but in time the car would retain so much more of its value and beauty if it is protected now.
The journey of parenting is one of many seasons and much joy, but ultimately our heart is for our children to reach adulthood having made wise, blessable choices. Each parent will have to navigate what path their child may take, but may we all pray for and inspire them to aim for an unscratched Bugatti!