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My teenager had only been driving with a learner’s permit for a few weeks, when it happened. An accident. We were in the car, and while parking, the car slightly grazed another vehicle leaving damage.

After interacting with the other vehicle’s owner and our insurance company, my nerves calmed down.

After all, “It was only a fender bender, barely one at that,” I thought. What I did not tell you yet, though, is that it was not my teenage driver who struck the other vehicle; it was me.

While I am still wondering what life lessons this may have taught my youngster, let me share what it has taught me:

Be humble. Adding to my humiliation, my teenager had driven most of the time that day, until I took over the last leg, knowing we were going to a place with a lot of traffic and crowded parking lots. “Dad’s got to take the wheel, here,” I thought. True, we were entering into some difficult driving, but my teen probably would have been less (over) confident than her dad. That day, I learned to be more humble about my abilities, or in this case inabilities (Rom. 12:3).

Be careful. In this fast-paced society in which we live, it can be easy to get in too much a hurry. Whether you are running late for an event and get careless parking your car; or if you’re simply too careless with your words or attitudes, many of us could benefit by slowing down, by taking care (Prov. 29:20).

Be patient. When driving a car, it’s easy to grow inpatient. In fact, in every aspect of life, it is difficult to have patience. Whether through life experience or prayer, God can give to us more patience than we now have. It may not be a fun process getting there, but it’s definitely a virtue and Fruit of the Spirit every believer should desire (Eph. 4:2).

After my getting over my initial fender bender blues and coming to these life lessons, I can step back and be thankful it happened. It was a learning experience for me. It hopefully was a learning experience for my teen. And who knows? Maybe my mistake can help you, as well.