A Dad’s Blown Opportunity

I love to drive which is a good thing. My six year old Corolla has 160,000 miles on it. So, (to save you the trouble of doing the math), I drive about 27,000 miles a year, which equals a lot. Wherever I go, people see my three bumper stickers prominently displayed on my back window. One celebrates the San Francisco Giants 2010 World Series victory, one shows my choice for this year’s presidential election, and my favorite one declares “Proud Air Force Mom”. I love these three statements, as they pretty accurately describe my personality.

Yesterday, I was backing out of a parking spot and waited for a dad and his pre-teen daughter to walk behind me. The man stopped behind my car, pointed at it, and loudly said, “What an idiot!” His daughter looked at him confused, so he again pointed and said, “There, look. What an idiot”, and continued walking.

My first instinct was to roll down my window, and call out, “Excuse me, but why am I an idiot?” He paused, but then just ignored me. I was left to wonder why indeed he called me that. Does he like the Oakland A’s, and not the Giants? Is he going to vote for someone different in the election? Does he not think that having a son serve his country is something to be proud of? I was left with many questions, and to be honest, feeling hurt. But as I drove off, the strongest feeling I had was this:

What a terrible role model this man is to his daughter. She is looking to him to learn what kind of person she would like to become, and he is teaching her all the wrong values. Name calling, pre-judging, assuming, insulting, and then not having the courage to answer my question are poor lessons to teach your impressionable daughter.

If this man disagreed with something on my car, it was an opportunity to share a teachable moment. He could have said, “Look at that. I disagree because…..” (I can’t imagine what is so offensive about my bumper stickers so I can’t even come up with anything good to fill in the blank.) Instead, he just blew the chance to be a great dad. How sad for him. And even sadder for his daughter.

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