Next Step – Driving

We’re about to reach a milestone of sorts in our house.  17.0 is about to hit the roads as a solo driver.  I’ve purchased a second car, next step is driving for the older one.  Much as I did when I got them mobile phones six years ago – she’ll have to sign a contract of responsibility.

Here’s what I have so far – wondering if anyone has any additional thoughts:

Agreement for Using My Father’s Second Car

The following outlines terms and conditions Teen Driver freely agrees to, understands and acknowledges for use of the second car belonging to my father, Car Owner.  These terms as presented and agreed to should be seen as a contract between Leah and Ethan for use of the car.  Penalties are outlined herein.

Section 1 – Basic Rules

  1. The car belongs to my father, Car Owner, and my driving of it is a privilege I have earned. _____
  2. The car will be kept generally clean and in good running order at all times. _______
  3. The car will be parked either at the top of the driveway with Car Owner’s car having access to get off the drive way first or in a proper overnight parking spot. _______
  4. No more than four additional passengers are permitted in the car. _______
  5. There can be no additional drivers of the car without the express (and situationally) granted permission of Car Owner. _______
  6. House curfew will be strictly enforced. Failure to keep to house curfew will result in forfeiture of use of the car for a period of time to be determined by Car Owner. _______
  7. Teen Driver will follow and obey all traffic laws. _______
  8. Any incident related to the car or its operation will be disclosed immediately. _______

Section 2 – Car Related Costs

  1. Under terms of this agreement Teen Driver will pay monthly insurance costs of $ XX.XX _______
  2. Teen Driver is solely responsible for keeping gas in the car. _______
  3. Teen Driver is responsible for all maintenance costs of the car including but not limited to oil changes, tire rotation, tire replacement and general maintenance. _______
  4. Teen Driver is responsible for any traffic fines relating to tickets or violations. _______
  5. Should any fines or violations result in points on her license Teen Driver will pay any additional insurance costs on a monthly or annual basis. _______

Section 3 – Expected Driver Behavior

  1. Teen Driver and all passengers will wear seat belts at all times when in the car. _______

  2. Teen Driver will not use her cell phone at any time while driving. _______

  3. A ticket for texting while driving will result in loss of driving privileges for a time period solely at the discretion of Car Owner. _______

  4. Driving while intoxicated or under the influence will result in loss of driving privileges. _______

There’s not stopping the next step, driving. But at least she’ll know she has skin in the game.

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The Washington Trip

Washington DCIt’s a big week here for 13.5.  She and her friends are getting ready for the Washington trip at school.  It’s a three-day excursion with lot’s of rules for safety, a packed schedule to wear out the kids  – and I’ll admit it, a week’s worth of strategizing for the single dad.

The first phase of strategy for the Washington trip occurs now, a full 72-hours before I drop 13.5 off at 5:30AM at the school.  This is where I want her to feel in control about what she takes, but at the same time make sure she’s ready for rain, cool to cold weather and a lot of walking.  In the grand scheme of things this is not a huge deal.  She’s a trooper and will be with her friends so she’ll get through.

The next strategy is about planning.  13.5 is a little challenged in this area.  Perhaps using me as a role model isn’t great, but she should be ready for all possibilities so this will include a trip to the pharmacy before the Washington trip rolls out of the school parking lot.

Finally, there is the strategy I’ll have to employ to contain myself and let her have this adventure.  Yeah, we go through this in the summer with camp, but that feels different.  Maybe it’s because her sister isn’t with her – I’m not really sure.  She’ll have her phone and I am sure (because I’ll tell her) she’ll text a few times a day.  But still, I have to let her experience the Washington trip her way.

So, Tuesday night she and I will drop the bags at the school.  Wednesday morning bright and early we’ll head out – I know she’ll have a great time.  And I’ll look forward to hearing all about it on Friday night.

Until then, a lot of strategy will be applied to the Washington trip.

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School Vacation, Rules and Willingness to Go Along

Vacation TimeSo we are into what is the longest break of the school year for the girls.  Spring break this year is a factor of the calendar, a good job managing snow-days by the school district and parent-teacher conferences-when all is said and done, the girls have seven days off from school.  When you roll weekends in, its 13 days without waking up for school.

There are no big plans for trips or anything for this break-although they will spend a couple of days with grandma-because they are now within about 60 days of camp and I am starting to pull their stuff together for that.  In fact, I recently ordered more than $250 worth of stuff-that is not clothes for camp.  Clothes is the next undertaking that we’ll have to figure out.

Meanwhile here at home-I realize I have gone pretty easy on the girls with the house rules.  I’ve eased “connected time” rules for iPods and computer, allowed more computers and let them get dressed later in the day-but is it because they are on vacation or because it’s the path of least resistance for me?

I need some time away from being the enforcer and referee-as much as the girls need some downtime from their daily grind.  So, for now (at least through this week) I am going to go with no harm, no foul.  At some point next week, I’ll ease back into rules and enforcement-and try to get them back onto schedule to close out the school year.

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Rules of Engagement

Just how prevalent and meaningful has the “gibberish” of your Twitter stream or Facebook wall gotten? There are a lot of companies – both large and small that are creating policy for their employees about how they are expected to conduct themselves.  Not only conduct on “official” Twitter pages or Facebook fan pages, but extending that expectation to personal social media accounts.  And you know what-its a good thing.

I can tell you from personal experience-it was pointed out to me that at one point my Twitter stream (and downstream of that my Facebook wall) had gone too far.  And I appreciated that little heads up and I have modified my behavior since then because social media (even personal accounts) are and extension of our selves (as our jobs, families, background etc).

I did a quick Google this afternoon of the term “Twitter policy” and I came up with rules about the way NFL players can Tweet, guidelines for NBA players, rules governing social media for ESPN employees and tips about how to create policy and some blog comments about policies that have been implemented.

I did a quick read through some of the memos that have found their way to the internet–and there are varying degrees of regulation.  The important part though is no one flat out banner Twitter.  Some of made it a little more generic what can be Tweeted or posted–but the conversation is open, and the sides are engaged.

And that is a good thing, it’s about time.

Once those rules of engagement are open for discussion, implementation and modification an end goal is in sight.  Once the use of social network is defined-employees can begin to implement policy and reach the goal.

For a long time, social media has been an experimental ground-drive brand awareness, drive consumption, drive something.  But the scale to measure impact has not been there.

Now it is-and rules legitimize it.

Yes, it would be great to have the wild-west mentality and just a straight up land grab for every inch we can get.  But that’s not the way business works in 2009.  Business is as much about image and awareness as it is about customer loyalty quality.  Those business needs extend beyond company websites and official destinations–and now that conversation is engaged.

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