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Editorial

Gentle Virtues


Drive



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03/01/2012 - My poor driver's education instructor had her hands full. Why she choose such a profession and why she was willing to teach me to drive was beyond my comprehension. Feeling sorry for her, I decided to make her job easy ... well, tolerable.

Every time she introduced a part of the car, I repeated it after her, showing her I was listening. Finished with her introduction, she asked, "Any questions?" "Yeeeeeeeees," I said hesitantly. "Would you mind telling me once again which is the gas petal and which is the brake?" With a raised eyebrow, she answered, "I gather you've never driven before." Nervously, I responded, "What gives you that idea?" I think the brown pigment vanished from her brow.

She offered that we could stay in the school parking lot for the first lesson. My heavy braking and generous turns may have contributed to her kind offer. Now, I won't go into the details of me trying to operate a stick shift or my running over the skunk during a night drive, just know I learned some things, acquired my driver's license and the Department of Transportation keeps letting me renew it!

Because we live in a fast-paced, driven society, it is wise that we critique ourselves behind the steering wheel of life. Could we have the gas petal and the brake confused? Do we put on the brakes when we should get going or floor the gas when we need to slow down? Some of us need to reacquaint ourselves with the gas petal and the brake.

It's good to be driven but not overly driven. Each of us should have drive. Noah Webster did. It moved him to learn twenty languages and take twenty years to write the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language where he defines drive nineteen different ways. Some of his definitions are awe inspiring such "to compel", "to tend to" and "to impel by moral influence". Some defmitions are reckless in nature such as "to hurry on inconsiderately", "to rush and press with violence" and ... "to distress".

The root meaning of drive (in German) is "to thrive". Under definition one of thrive, Noah Webster quotes a Watts (my relative?) as saying "Diligence and humility is the way to thrive in the riches of understanding, as well as in gold." Here we discover the gas petal (diligence) and the brake (humility) that should always accompany the steering wheel of life. With both, we'll go places. We'll thrive. And we'll be able to cheer on one another along the highway of life.

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