I was sixteen or seventeen and learning to drive our car. To teach me, Dad (a doctor) had me drive him all over the county visiting his patients. We lived in a house with a very steep driveway. There was a retaining wall on one side and big drop-off on the other -- if you didn’t back down “just so,” you’d be in trouble. Well, I drove the station wagon backwards over the bank so that three of the wheels were down in the hole. The tow truck had to get creative to get the car back on the driveway. Throughout this entire ordeal, I was crying "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!" thinking I had destroyed the car and other dire thoughts.
After the tow truck left, Dad said, "Let's go," and got in on the passenger side. I wailed, "I can't, I almost ruined the car! Please don't make me!" He said "Get in the car and back it down the driveway. When you fall off your horse you get back on again." There was no arguing with him. I backed the car down without incident, though my eyes felt like boiled eggs from crying so hard.
To this day, I think about my dad when I back down that lousy driveway. He gave me curiosity, strength of character, an ability to laugh at myself, and taught me how to channel being stubborn into the quality of sheer determination.
A Lesson From My Dad
The Dr. Laura Call of the Day Podcast