Past Articles:

Dear Jido,

My son recently received his learner’s permit to drive. The other day, backing out of a driveway, he hit our neighbors' mailbox. My husband was with him, and admittedly was not paying attention at that moment.

The neighbors were nice about it and they agreed to have my son and husband replace it.

My husband thinks my son should pay for the replacement of the mailbox.
I disagree. I feel that my husband was supposed to be paying attention, monitoring and teaching him to drive.

I have warned my husband repeatedly that our son needs a lot more practice, because driving our big car isn’t coming naturally to him. My husband feels that
I am being soft.

We agreed that we would abide by your decision. So, Jido – please advise.

Signed, New Driver

Dear Mother of a New Driver,

Not sure if your son is 17 or 18, but he is surely over 13 years of age. By this time, as a young man, he needs to take responsibility for his actions. Granted, this might have been his first time behind the wheel, or at least your set of wheels, but he must recognize the enormous responsibility he has in driving a car.

Let's assume for a moment that your husband had been watching intently and as he saw your son backing into the mailbox would have shouted, "Yankel (or Joey), watch out!" Your son, being inexperienced, still may not have reacted properly or in a timely manner, not knowing what he was doing wrong. This isn't to say that your husband is entirely innocent of not watching and explaining the dangers inherent in operating a vehicle. But paying for a knocked over mailbox is a small price to pay for your son to learn the invaluable lesson of being careful, alert, and responsible while driving.

My vote is – he needs to pay out of his own bar mitzvahmoney.