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