My son and his friends had a saying when they were teens: “Soccer moms are the most dangerous drivers in the world.”
They had nothing against soccer. Or moms. What they meant was that moms who are trying to get their kids somewhere on time drive a little like Dale Earnhardt Junior. And, I had to admit that they had a valid point. Both tickets I received were when I had kids in the car and we were rushing somewhere. The same has been true for my daughter.
Moms get caught up in the frenzy of getting kids ready and out the door, and attempting to actually be on time for: school, ballet, softball, gymnastics and yes, soccer, that we have a hard time slowing down long enough to remember that the earth won’t quit revolving because we were one minute late. And, that sometimes shows in our driving.
And, mom, I have been there. I remember the stress of trying to find shoes and keys, dressing squirming kids and changing last minute diapers, and finally getting everyone buckled in only to realize that we were going to be late yet again. I don’t like to be late. It always feels like I’m insulting the person waiting for me.
I’m sure there were many times my kids saw me displaying less than stellar role model skills as I dodged and weaved my way to the next function (there may have been some salty language involved too). And, how many times have you looked in the rearview mirror because someone was right on your bumper only to see a crazed-looking mom madly trying to figure out how soon she could pass you in order to gain a few precious minutes of driving time. And, on multi-lane roads we watch as moms in mini-vans change lanes repeatedly in the hope of beating the next traffic light.
The opposite is also true. I can’t count how many times I have been on the freeway in a long line of cars stuck behind someone moving slowly in the left lane. I cringe when I can finally pass them (on the right) and see that they have a Christian symbol on the back of their car. I want to roll down my window and yell, “You’re giving us a bad name, get in the right lane!”
And, that’s why I never put a Christian decal on my car. To me, the greatest sin is to do something that would keep someone away from Christ. And, since I can’t get out of my car in the middle of the street to explain to someone why I sped up to pass them or why I’m driving slowly, I don’t want to give them the wrong idea of who a believer is. I think the bottom line is that I don’t trust myself to always act like a role model in the car (I once beat the ambulance carrying my daughter to the hospital!). So, no sticker.
Instead, my kids and I developed our own driving strategies. When there was someone right on our bumper I’d yell, “Bumper!” and the kids would immediately turn and look out the back window and smile and wave at the tail-gater like they were a long-lost friend. The driver would invariably back off and sometimes even smile and wave back. Or, when someone honked and made a nasty gesture, I’d smile, blow them kisses and mouth “thank you” or “sorry!”
Today, as more people are crammed into smaller places, traffic and road rage has gotten even worse. And, it’s so easy to get caught up in the frenzy of trying to get somewhere on time. Yes, there are drivers out there who are completely oblivious that there is anyone else on the road. And, yes, there are self-centered drivers who push and shove their way through life. These people get on my last nerve (especially if I’m running late). So, I just don’t trust myself to always be a shining example of Christ’s love while driving.
If you do have a Christian decal on your car, I salute you! You’ve found a way to get to Vacation Bible School on time without honking and cutting people off. You advertise your faith and that is a beautiful thing. I’m still a work in progress, so for now my car will remain bumper-sticker-less!