Clear Steering

For many families, summer break can be just as busy as the school year. This summer was Girl Scout activities, 4-H projects, ballet, and Purdue University Teen Ambassador engagements. Oh, and my daughter Katie turned 15 years old! With that milestone birthday came the learner’s permit and driver’s education classes.

Katie requested a driver’s manual for her birthday. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was free. Nonetheless, that was her gift, all wrapped up with a bow! She diligently studied the manual, and before her classes began in July, she passed her written exam and received her learner’s permit. Then came the behind-the-wheel instruction. Her first day behind the wheel, she said, “This is much more challenging than I thought it would be. Adults make it look so easy.” It was good to know that she wasn’t overly confident.

My older daughter, having gone through this process with me, advised Katie not to let me in the vehicle. That was the best advice she has received so far. But the day came when she had to take the car on the Muncie bypass to go to her driving test. She was terrified—and so was I! I refrained from grabbing the car door, slamming on the invisible brake, and limited my speech (at least the volume) to keep her calm.

As I dropped her off, she asked me to follow her on the drive. I could tell that she was apprehensive. As difficult as it was, and as any good mother would do, I told her that I had complete confidence in her driving skills. As I drove away with tears flowing, I saw her chin go up and shoulders back as she walked to the instructor’s car radiating confidence.

Katie did very well on her drive that day. It made me realize how a word of confidence can help produce success. This holds true with my tax service—with knowledge comes confidence. Clients trust that I have read the “manual” and will give solid advice with any tax situation they may encounter.

Pam Smitson, CPA, CGMA, Smitson Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors

This article was included in the Worley Erhart-Graves Quarterly Newsletter. Download the printable version here.