Friday, June 17, 2011

I will drive myself

Joni is washing dishes and Tzippi is either asleep or very quietly reading Harry Potter under the covers.
Lately much has been in the news about women driving in Saudi Arabia.  I had decided that in solidarity with our Saudi sisters, it would be a good day to take Joni out to practice driving.  But after a long day packing, and meeting with ESL students, I fell asleep on the couch.  So, we'll drive tomorrow.

Joni can fix things, and put things together.  She sets up tents intuitively.  Somehow I thought that this would mean that she would get into a car for the first time and just drive.  After more observation, it may be a while before she is able to incorporate blind spots, turn signals, and other traffic out on the open road.

I'm glad that she is learning, but also scared.  With a car, Joni will be more independent.  She will drive herself to summer camp, her sister to ballet. She may also have opportunities to get into trouble.  Freedom always brings choices.   She might drink and drive.  She might meet boys when she is supposed to be going to band practice.  Whatever guidelines I give her, please believe there will be a way around them.  Joni is an excellent daughter.  I trust her.  But this is planet Earth, I am a mother, and I worry.

All of this is just to say,  I understand the desire to limit other people's freedoms.  If minimizing Joni's choices gives me control, or at least a delusion of control...I sort of like the idea.   However, I also understand how futile, petty, and dehumanizing the act of limiting other peoples freedoms can be.. I do not want my daughter to get into trouble, but I want her to become independent. I want her to realize that her choices inform the quality and direction of her life.   I will drive myself is a good slogan for the women trying to bring about change in Saudi, and also a good metaphor.  No matter how much we need one another, it is wise to drive your own car and to direct your own life.


  1. Shannon,
    Your metaphor is beautifully stated with powerful observations and insight. I look forward to your next opus. -Sandy

  2. Danke, Anonymous Sandy.

    Let's run off for coffee and letters soon!