I went to move my truck the other day. Since moving to Cleveland, TN I haven’t driven it that much. I mean , I don’t get a chance to drive any automobile these days that can’t carry at least 3 children. So of course it is only normal that when I went to move it in the cold weather, the battery was completely dead. It occurred to me that it might just be time to sell the truck.
This won’t be easy. I have had this truck since I was 17. It was my second car if you can even count the first truck I owned. The first truck didn’t have a working speedometer, the radio didn’t work, the heat barely worked, and I had to pump the brakes to get it to stop. My parents finally thought it was time to move on to a new automobile when I came out from a movie one night and two of the tires were flat. On first inspection I thought someone had slashed my tires. Not one to have enemies, I didn’t understand why someone would do that. It turned out to be less sinister then that. Actually the tires were so worn down that the tire wall had finally cracked, exposing the metal wires that are on the inside of most tires. We slapped a couple of $50 used tires on the truck and to the dealership we went.
A day or so after my dad had a tumor removed from his leg, we hobbled over to the dealership to pick up a new truck. My dad hobbled around the lot, found a blue truck that he liked and bought the truck.
“That’s it.”, I thought.
“Yes”, my dad said. “The payment is due next month. You will pay for the insurance, gas, and part of the payment. You should have this thing paid off by the time you are 21.”
Well, several years went by, 185,000 miles later, and a couple of late payments to my dad and the truck was finally mine. I have driven that truck for 14 years. From the time I was 17 till now. I made it through high school, college, marriage, and two children in that truck. The extended cab came in handy when my wife’s car was broken down and it became our only “family” vehicle. It looked like a clown car at Barnum and Baileys as we all tried to pile out of the truck on Sunday mornings. And I am not sure how this is even mechanically possible, but it is still on its original clutch. I am pretty sure there were truck angels watching over it to help us get by those early days of our marriage and they have finally moved on to help a poor missionary in Africa with his old car. It will be sad parting with it, but hopefully it will become some other kids first experience into adolescence like it was mine.
As I was thinking about my truck it became apparent to me that all boy’s should be made to own a truck as their first vehicle. Not necessarily a Ford F-150, my dream car, but an old, beat up truck that still has some good miles.
Boys need to learn how to work hard with their hands, boys need to learn to be rugged and tough, and boys need to learn how to serve others. And a truck gives plenty of opportunities for all of those. Let me explain:
Trucks are inherently masculine.
Yeah, I rock the minivan mostly these days. I even roll in the 15 passenger kind. Is that a church youth group, a juvenile detention detail out to clean the roadway, or the Van Dykes? You’ll never know. But I started out in a truck and trucks are just manly. Sure, a case can be made for fast sports cars, but I am sure there is not a bigger gender disparity between any other type of automobile.
Trucks are pretty unassuming.
Teenagers need to learn that their value and worth is not tied to their possessions. You are not your car and a jerk is still a jerk even if he has a Mercedes. A good, old truck can be an important analogy for teenage boys. People will value you by what you do, not by what you look like or what you have. A truck, as long as its not suped up with huge tires and 4×4 roll bars will teach a boy to not put value in things outside himself. And a truck will allow teenage boys more opportunity to do for others then just about any vehicle.
Trucks allow boys to do more boy things.
How many BWM’s are parked next to the river to go fishing? Do your buddies ever want to take your Ford Focus to the woods to go camping? Does mud on your mom’s mini-cooper add to its value like mud on your Ranger? Didn’t think so. Trucks are also about the only vehicle that look better with a couple of dents and scratches. Trucks are the only vehicle, outside the hippy, Dead head VW van, that are still socially acceptable if dirty, smelly, and unkempt. It is a sign that they are actually doing what they are made to do: work.
Trucks give more opportunities for a boy to work hard, outside, with his hands.
You hardly ever hear, “Son, go down and load the Tercel with some wood and bring it up here.” or “We need to take the Camry and get some things at Home Depot for the new fence.” Trucks immediately supply a boy with the opportunity to work harder then he might had he been given a different vehicle.
A truck will always give a boy opportunity to serve others.
I don’t know how many college friends I helped move, because I had a truck. How many church families I helped haul old couches off to the dump, how many elderly people’s yard I helped clear, how many friends borrowed the truck for a weekend to get some home projects done, all because I owned a truck.
Trucks are made to work and boys need to learn how to be men that aren’t afraid of work either. Boys also need to learn that a large part of work is serving others and both trucks and boys are made to do both. I wasn’t a servant who had a truck. I was a irresponsible teenager who had a truck and by extension was forced to work until he became a servant.
And so to will my sons.
So goodbye Old Truck. I hope you’ve got another 100,000 miles and endless projects for another kid out there that needs it.