You know, lessons learned the hard way are so incredibly painful, but desperately needed if we are ever going to grow and change. I’m going to generalize here, and I might be wrong, but I think that most people do NOT like to have their faults pointed out. First of all, we already what our faults are (even if we are in denial), and second of all, because we already know, we certainly don’t need or want someone else to tell us, because we already KNEW! So shut up already! Right? WRONG!
WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT WE’RE DOING WRONG
If we are ever going to grow, then we need to know what we are doing wrong. Even if it’s pointed out, and it becomes painful. It’s embarrassing. It causes us shame. But hey – if we will accept the truth, then we can make a change, GROW, and move on. Then we win! Big time!
Let me tell you about a painful lesson I had way back in October, 2012 when my son was still young.
MY PAINFUL LESSON
I had just picked up Jakob from his dance class. We were downtown Langley on Industrial Avenue. I was in a bit of a flap, and had to go to the bathroom quite badly. I did my usual rush through the downtown core, waited at two red lights, and then finally got going. I was halfway through the second intersection when I had flashing lights behind me. I couldn’t believe it, but yes, I was being pulled over. Considering I had JUST sat through two red lights, and now I wasn’t even at 30 km yet, I couldn’t figure out what was going on.
When the office walked up to the car, he asked me if I knew why he pulled me over. I told him I had no idea. He said to me, “you blew through a stop sign.” I couldn’t believe it! I instantly reacted, and vehemently (and I do mean VEHEMENTLY) said “I did NOT!” (Huge emphasis on the NOT!) I was outraged, I was totally mad!
WHAT I DID WRONG
Then he explained where I had whipped around the corner from Industrial to 203rd avenue, and then I realized that he was right. I don’t think of making a right hand turn as blowing through a stop sign. Then he continued on, and said it was the WORST offence he had ever seen, and that I had been going more than 30 mph around the corner.
Gulp. Oh my. He took my licence, and went and sat in his car to write out a ticket. Jakob was nervous, and he asked if the lights were put on to intimidate us, and asked how long we were going to have to sit there. When the cop came back with the ticket, I was so very very very annoyed by this point, that I grabbed it from him saying, “ya ya, could you hurry up, I have to go to the bathroom. And don’t you dare follow me home either. I won’t speed, just hurry up.” Well, he was flustered enough to hand me the ticket without me signing it.
MY CONSCIENCE PRICKED ME
When I got home, I looked at my freshly minted $167 ticket and was promptly horrified. Embarassed. Ashamed. Upset. Mad. But most of all? Horrified with my own rotten attitude. Jakob went to bed, and I went to bed a bit later, feeling awful. My conscience wouldn’t let me rest. I realized that my driving lately had been horrible. I had been California rolling at ALL stop signs, and it wasn’t once in awhile, it was all the time. I had been impatient, rushing, and driving like a jerk. When did that happen?
The next day when Jakob came home from school – I asked him to forgive me for my terrible driving habits. He will soon be driving, and do I want him to be like me? NO!
I MADE AMENDS AND ASKED FOR FORGIVENESS
I also then phoned the Langley RCMP and asked for officer 35748 ( number changed) and they patched me through. We played cat and mouse for an entire week until the lovely officer got a hold of me.
I refreshed his memory on who I was, the worse driver he had ever seen (blowing a stop sign, and yes, he remembered) I told him that I deserved the ticket, and thanked him for the warning about my driving. I told him I was inconsiderate and rude to him, and I wanted to deeply apologize. He was quite shocked, but pleased to know that the ticket had at least made a dent in my driving behavior. He was doing his job – and I was not. I was being a rude, whiny, inconsiderate driving jerk, and the worse thing? My son was in the car, and a witness to it all. So yes, I owed them BOTH an apology. He told me of course he would forgive me, and thanked him for phoning him. He also told me that was the first time someone had ever done that.
NO MORE DRIVING TICKETS/FINES FOR ME!
So, here’s me – having to pay a huge fine for my driving offence, but it’s small price to pay in knowing that my driving will improve, and other’s lives will be safer because I’m driving safer, and my son is learning from my mistakes.
It doesn’t get any better than that.
LIFE LESSON LEARNED