Most of the time, throughout each day, we are all relatively unconscious. Someone will ask to borrow a lawnmower, money, or our car without either of us being aware of all that’s involved in responsible borrowing and lending. Similarly, a loving parent will let their teen borrow the family car, honestly and sincerely believing it’s an act of generosity, a sign of love, of being a supportive parent.
We don’t have space here to discuss the why’s of a borrower’s needs, be it karma or whatever;* instead, let's look at some of the variables involved in borrowing or lending, specifically, the considerations and communications that support a responsible mutually satisfying outcome.
For example: When I borrow anything I must have in mind how I will handle the situation if it breaks (especially if it’s old). If I borrow someone’s lawnmower I know that things can go wrong. To begin with, I might not be aware of why I’ve set up life so as to have to borrow. Is my integrity out somewhere? If life hasn’t supported me in having my own working, well maintained lawnmower, then what makes me think that my integrity, my karma, will suddenly support me in having the ability to cause things to go perfectly with a borrowed one? Me, I must ask myself, can I afford to buy them a new one? If yes, why not just buy myself a new one?
Quite often the answer, as to whether to lend or not, lies in the fact that seldom do borrowers communicate clearly, upfront, how they will handle things if something goes wrong, to include losing their job.
Let’s use parents and a teen and the family car as an example:
Here’s what a teen, one clearly ready to borrow responsibly, will communicate, in writing, to the parents as he/she asks to borrow the family car for the first time:
- “If I have an accident (even if I’m not at fault) I will deliver to the house a rental for you to use while the car is being repaired. I will arrange and pay for any towing. I will instruct the body repair shop that I will pay whatever it costs for them to do a perfect repair job so that when you eventually sell the car you’ll still be able to get top trade-in dollar. I also agree to handle all other expenses for any accident so as to not cost you anything. I’m aware that if someone gets badly hurt that it could cost more than your insurance allows and that you could even have to sell the house to pay for medical expenses. I also agree to pay, for-life, any increase in your car insurance premiums that may occur from any accident. I will return the car vacuumed and washed with a full tank of gas. You must agree to not forgive or waive these conditions, ever; “for life” means for life.”
As a teen reads/writes the above, "I’m aware that if someone gets badly hurt that it could cost more than your insurance allows and that you could even have to sell the house to pay for medical expenses" it should wake them up and cause him/her to realize that it's absolutely irresponsible to borrow anyone's car or to lend anyone a car; it’s simply too much to ask/expect of anyone to handle a mishap with integrity. Teens have not had enough experiences to know its value and the ramifications of an accident. Love is, supporting a teen in working so as to be able to spend their hard earned money on their own transportation and separate insurance; matching dollar for their earned dollar works (but not a penny more).
To lend anything, money or your car, you must envision that it is a gift and that you're willing, and prepared, to accept any and all outcomes without expecting the borrower to pay. To pretend that it's OK will damage the relationship; few know how to handle borrowing with integrity.
* Judge Marilyn Milian, People's Court, admonsishes litgants trying to recover a personal loan, "No, you're not a "kind" person. It was stupid to lend them money to buy a car when you knew their credit was no good?"
** If the borrower is conscious and intends to handle a mishap responsibly they will in fact truly ask with a clear space for you to decline without feeling guilty. If they pretend to ask but their request carries with it a hint of disappointment (or causing you to feel guilty) if you say no then they are not asking but manipulating/conning you for which there are undesirable consequences. i.e. Son: "Dad, can I borrow the car?" Dad: “No.” And then, the son walks away pouting, trying to make the dad feel badly. Clearly the son was not asking with a yes or no reply being perfectly OK.
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be" —William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
I'm wondering if there are statistics of teen accidents in which the teen had borrowed the car.
last edited 2/10/18