A Parent's Perspective

By Governor Sam Brownback
     In my time in elected office, I have welcomed the responsibilities incumbent on me as the Governor and, prior to that, as a Congressman and Senator serving the citizens of Kansas.  This great privilege has also been a great source of joy.
     As a husband and father of five, I understand there is no greater responsibility, and no greater joy, than family.  My two youngest children, now 15, are just beginning to drive.  It’s a rite of passage experienced by every family as they watch their “babies” climb behind the wheel of a car and head out the driveway on their way to school.
     My job as a parent is to keep my children safe. My wife and I taught all our children to be cautious and pay attention to their surroundings.  We have taught them the importance of focusing on the task at hand and doing it to the best of their abilities. Like all parents, we have worked hard to teach them the skills they need to succeed in everything they do.
     Now that Mark and Jenna are driving, we talk about focus in a different way.  Remaining focused while driving means not giving in to distractions.  Those distractions can take many forms – talking friends in the car while you drive, playing with the radio, noticing other cars or drivers, and of course the thing that distracts so many of us, our cell phones.
     It takes discipline not to pick up your cell phone for the latest text or to see who might be calling. It takes discipline not to take your eyes off the road to chat with friends riding in the back seat. A few seconds of distracted driving can have disastrous results.
     As a father, and like fathers everywhere, every time my kids get on the road I remind them to put down the phone and drive. 

Sam Brownback is the 46th governor of Kansas


  1. There is no greater way to teach our children then by the example we as parents set for them. If you wear a seatbelt they will. If you drive the speed limit they will. If you talk on the cell phone while driving they will. We lead by example and our example will be reflected back to us by our children. As noted by Governor Brownback it takes discipline not to pick up that cell phone and discipline plays a big part in the skills needed to succeed. Who would not want that for their children especially when it comes their safety on the roadway. Thanks for your thoughts Governor and your continued interested in highway safety.

  2. Well said - children start learning to drive from the time they switch from rear-facing to forward-facing car seats, simply by seeing what their parents do behind the wheel. The observational seatbelt surveys in Kansas even show that when adults are buckled, the kids are buckled 95% of the time, but when the adults aren't buckled, only about 30% of the children will be buckled.
    Kids learn good habits, such as wearing seat belts, but they also learn bad habits from parents... things like cell phone use, road rage, and a casual disregard for traffic laws.
    Thanks, Governor, for your support of roadway safety in Kansas. It takes a combination of well-engineered roads and people who are passionate about making a difference to bring about the reduction in deaths and injuries - and I think our state is starting to move in the right direction!