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Avoidable Contact #75: How did I get a son who doesn't love cars?

By the time you read this, my 11-year-old son will have ridden perhaps 50 miles in the new 2020 McLaren GT. I'm picking him up from school tomorrow and taking him for an early dinner so we will both be free to help my photography crew get some pictures of this utterly gorgeous quarter-million-dollar metallic-blue-with-cream-interior supercar later on in the evening. I know this car is catnip for kids because about 20 different neighborhood groms came over to my house this evening to watch the doors go up and down, ooh-and-aah at the roar of the engine, poke-and-prod at the various expensive-looking controls scattered throughout the interior, and stare open-mouthed at the way the nose can lift itself to clear the breakover angle of my driveway.


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I'm guessing your son is reaching the age where any attempt by you to influence his interests or preferences is doomed to failure.  The most you can do is be grateful that he shows interest and talent for real, outdoor activities and isn't sitting around playing video games all day.  I agree with Tony T that John may develop an interest in cars once he's at an age where he starts thinking about driving on the street and getting his own car.


I went to auto shows all the time as a kid and could recognize all brands and models from a very young age, but I didn't develop any deeper interest in or knowledge of cars till I was in college.  (E.g., I would have had no idea which cars were FWD or RWD, or what a turbo badge really signified, etc.)


My son, who turns two in a couple weeks, has been fairly obsessed with cars and trucks for as long as he has been able to communicate it.  He can tell us what brand, model, and color of car all family members drive and loves little more than to hang out in my wife's car while it's parked in the driveway (he likes hers the best because it has the most physical buttons and knobs to fiddle with).  He did confuse a Versa for a Fit the other day, but I think this is forgivable for a one year old.   But I don't think this interest is a result of any encouragement by me, other than the fact that I can answer most of his questions about cars we encounter.  He's equally fixated on construction equipment and dinosaurs, which neither of us knew anything about or encouraged him to like.