Since I lived 13 miles from school, DE was very much a social event. It was a gathering of a very specific group of people my age. We all had a common bond and everyone WANTED to be there. It wasn't like regular school. The rewards of DE would be seen much more quickly.
I barely recall the classroom work, speakers or the movies. I do recall sitting in the gym as a group and knowing what we would see and hear was meant to scare us. But I don't recall being scared or really influenced to be a better driver because of DE. In retrospect, what has influenced me the most are any close calls I may have had. That's not a comforting thought as my son just got his license to drive yesterday.
I do recall the driving part of DE. It was the most fun. There were two girls, two boys and one teacher in our car. We'd drive for four hours at a time. Periodically, our teacher would make us stop so he could have a smoke break. He'd open the glove box and pull out rolls of Certs...he didn't smoke. In hindsight, I think he gave us Certs while he ate a few Tums! They came in rolls too. These days I've had my share of Tums. I keep reminding myself that we all need to learn to drive sometime.
The exciting part of getting my driver's license was that I suddenly had freedom. I became much more helpful to my parents..."do you need anything from the store? I'll go get it!" My husband and I were reminiscing the other day with his parents about our early driving days. My husband recalled his mom asking him to go to the corner market to buy her packs of cigarettes! My slightly horrified MIL said, "I would never have done that!" She hasn't smoked in 22 years. My FIL replied, "I seem to recall you did!" Boy have times changed! Sixteen-year-olds can't even buy cigarettes nowadays.
My son has passed step one in getting his license...the state tests: driving and written. Officially he has his little plastic card in his wallet making him legal.
Step two is a little harder to pass...Kroll's Law. Just because the state says he can drive doesn't mean he's impressed all the authorities who will give him permission. Where's that car provided by the state? Who's paying insurance premiums? Who's responsible if he gets into an accident? Which brings up my next thought...organ donation. I think it's a wonderful gift of life to be offered to someone else. My son wanted to be an organ donor. I'm not ready for my son to leave me in the earthly sense of the word, and it was hard to okay something so important as a person and a parent.
I did okay my son's desire. Kroll's Law, the ace in my pocket...for a while.