I used to feel a strong sense of indignation when someone would harass one of my students during a driving lesson. I used to, that is, until last week.
I was giving a driving test to a young lady who is currently a student at the Air Force Academy. We use company cars for the driving skills test and they are labeled all around with "Student Driver". As we sat at a red light waiting to make I right turn, I looked to our left and saw the passenger in the car beside me. The passenger and the driver of the car were both in their late teens or early twenties. The passenger thought it would be fun to make faces at my "student". She crossed her eyes, stuck out her tongue and moved back and forth in the car. Fortunately, my driver was not aware of the circus one car over--even though the driver of the car kept moving forward to try to give us a better view of the passenger.
At first, I felt angry that this girl (who could not have been licensed more than a few years herself) would try to distract the young lady taking the test. When I looked back, though, I realized just how funny the trouble-maker looked--and some of the "funny" was her natural state of being. Instead of making a fool of my driver, she was making a fool of herself. She reminded me of Lisa Kudrow making faces at a little boy in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion.
Of course, I have seen some mean people do some cruel things to student drivers, but for this day, I realized that happiness is a choice and it was better to laugh at the girl than to get angry.