Of cars and children

These two Cs have a lot in common, according to this car owner with a child.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

These two Cs have a lot in common, according to this car owner with a child.

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CARS are made of metal and run on petrol (or diesel, or batteries), while children are our flesh and blood. But these two “C’s” have a lot in common.

I once wrote about the similarities between cars and handbags. It recently dawned on me that parallels can be drawn between cars and children, too. 

Children, like cars, are not born equal. Some have an aptitude for languages, others have a natural eloquence. Some have a flair for the arts, and others have a gift for analytical thinking. Just like cars.

Not every car is meant to go off - road. Some cars are made to serve a functional purpose, while others are built for driving thrills. They have different talents and abilities, but each is special in its own unique way.

Every car has its innate character, and so does every child. As a car ages, quirks surface. As a child matures, he or she will also develop distinct personality traits that will define them as adults.

In the Singapore context, cars and kids are costly commitments, although you can manage the actual expenditures according to your budget and priorities. You can service your car at a backstreet-boys’ garage or the agent’s workshop, just as you can enroll your child in a government pre-school or a privately run one.

You can splurge on mods and kits for your car, and shower your child with branded apparel and extravagant toys, or you can do without.

The parents determine the “pairs of shoes” or “sets of tyres” in their nuclear family.
The parents determine the “pairs of shoes” or “sets of tyres” in their nuclear family.

It all boils down to what you want and what you can afford. Needless to say, this also makes children as much a status symbol as cars. You’d be surprised, there are folks out there who have more children because it is a show of affluence.

For car lovers with children, both are our pride and joy, especially when they are performing as intended. But when problems arise, such as behavioural and academic issues in your off spring, or mechanical problems in your car, these can also cause much anxiety and angst.

Some people cannot imagine a life without the two Cs. Others decide to be car-free, just as there are couples who choose to be child-free.

As car owners and parents, we sometimes favour one car or one child over another. We love all of them, just not that equally, for reasons that may not make logical sense.

For instance, the favourite car in the driveway may not be the one with the heftiest price tag, deepest sentimental value or highest horsepower, just as Papa and Mama’s pet may not be the child who is the most obedient or brings home the most stellar report card. 

Lynn feels that you should have as many children or cars as you can handle – financially, physically, emotionally – and enjoy every moment of the journey together.

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