21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
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Teaching Teens How To Use Public Transit

May 12th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Riding The BusPublic transit provides relief from high gas prices. It also gives mom and dad’s taxi service a break. I’ve always lobbied for Au-Teen to learn how to ride the bus, and now he’s on board.

The usual response was a look of indifference. This is the default smokescreen for adolescent insecurities. What he doesn’t understand is, I’m not here to exploit the insecurities for a cheap ego boost. My goal is to help him overcome them. He doesn’t always like my methods. Depending on the circumstances, I have R. Lee Ermey, Wayne Dyer, Mr. Miyagi, or any combination of the 3 rain down on his ass.

Learning how to read the route map and timetables would address some developmental needs. An understanding of time is one of those needs. I thought I had the perfect package to wrap this lesson in.

The Promise of Autonomy Didn’t Close The Sale?

Adolescence is a time to assert autonomy. I told Au-Teen that riding the bus would empower him. I also reminded him that using public transit is good training for life Europe and Japan. He was quiet at first, then he dismissed the notion with an admission of a deficiency in handling time-sensitive activities. The discussion reverted to subject matter requiring fewer brain cells.

Pushing The Right Buttons

Renee recently heard on the news that oil companies are making record profits. She used this little nugget to egg on our resident conspiracy theorist and anti-establishment advocate.

Renee told him, “you’re $#*@ing the oil companies by doing this.” and that got him interested right away. Further, she also suggested that this empowers him to see his friend T more often. He perked up some more.

Sticking It To The Oil Companies

This past weekend, I accompanied him on the bus to rendezvous with T. I was thrilled to go along. This was such a turnaround from the previous week’s edict of, “I hate the bus! I’m never taking the bus again!”

The difficulty level of this excursion required adult supervision and assistance. The previous weekend, we tried a simple one-bus trip. I would accompany him on the way there, but he would ride back solo. Unfortunately, the return trip required a search and rescue effort after he failed to catch the bus twice. The fool also wore all black on a scorching hot day. I guess forging one’s identity trumps comfort in the South Florida heat.

The ArtsPark at Young Circle, Hollywood, FLWe caught the bus to Young Circle in Hollywood where we’d catch a connecting bus to the rendezvous point. We had about 20 minutes before our connecting bus would arrive. We used the time to explore The Arts Park before catching the connecting bus to Aventura Mall.

Aventura Mall is a connecting point for Miami-Dade Transit and Broward County Transit. This made it the ideal location to meet. The real reason is, we had about 30 minutes to kill and there’s an Apple Store. They pump some crazy gas into the store that makes you buy stuff. Having a baby is the antidote for it.

The boys see each other from across the room. The music starts…

Reunited and it feels so good
Reunited ’cause we understood
There’s one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited
‘Cause we’re reunited

-Dino Fekaris and Freddie Perren

The return trip went smoothly. T has logged several hours in the Miami-Dade transit system, but Au-Teen is still very green. I will have to take a few more trips with him before I can let him go solo. He’s not the kind of guy you can just toss into the deep end of the pool.


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3 Responses to “Teaching Teens How To Use Public Transit”

  1. comment number 1 by: GeekMom

    Has he seen the Karate Kid movies? I find myself quoting movies that my kids have never seen. Doesn’t work as well… Wax on! Wax off! Kind of silly when taken out of context. 🙂

  2. comment number 2 by: 1stopmom

    It is so interesting that you are positng about this. I have just decided that I need to teach me 14 year old about riding the bus. She starts high school next year and there will be no busing. I have been actually a little nervous about it. I felt bad about not wanting to drive her everyday.

  3. comment number 3 by: Mspoint

    I wish more parents were as progressive as you! Public transportation was always an afterthought in the south. Perhaps now with the gas issues people will take that second look and see it through fresh eyes.

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