I love this story Ron Perlman tells about his father’s early encouragement and how much it meant to him:
Perlman’s father tells him what he needs to tell him while driving around. It makes me think about the power of the car in our emotional lives.
The automobile, for all of the evil and danger and destruction it’s brought to our culture and the planet, also provides an emotional space in which parents can talk more easily to their children and men can open up to other men about their feelings. (Kerouac knew all about that, and as goofy as it can be, I’m also thinking of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.)
Here’s an excerpt from a Psychology Today on the benefits of talking to your kids in the car:
- You have a captive audience-your passenger cannot leave at any time (at least safely).
- It’s less threatening-sitting beside or better yet, behind a parent, can feel less intimidating or less threatening to a child or adolescent.
- Car rides are limited in time-unless you are on a longer drive, you have only a limited time to get your point across and engage in a dialogue.
- Distractions can be minimized-although you may still have to compete with a phone or music player, your child will have fewer other distractions.
A week ago I wrote about how much I miss that brief 10 minutes my son and I got together driving him home from school. Gas is so (horrifyingly) cheap right now, I keep thinking about just throwing him in the car and going on a drive to nowhere, letting him DJ along the way…