- Associated Press - Sunday, November 8, 2015

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) - Sixteen-year-old Cassandra Chang is having fun learning how to drive her dad’s Honda Pilot, even though she always starts out nervous.

After a handful of Sunday lessons, her dad Ed Chang says he’s pleasantly surprised by his daughter’s progress, but he has another feeling as Cassandra gets behind the wheel.

“She’s getting older! Yes, I think about that always. It’s kind of difficult to think that, at some point, she will get her driver’s license,” says Ed Chang. “Then she’ll be driving alone. And someday, she’ll go to a party and I will stay up worrying about her.”

Bonding with his daughter is a good byproduct of the weekly driving lessons, he adds.

“I really thought, at the beginning, she’d have a difficult time grasping the concept of driving but, actually, I see that it comes quite easily for her,” he says. “I was afraid of her confidence level and even though we haven’t been out on the road yet, I’m very surprised.”

For a couple months now, Ed and his wife Rosalie Chang have spent Sundays with Cassandra, driving around the empty University of Guam campus in Mangilao.

Cassandra Chang enjoys the two hours they spend learning how to navigate the car, things like understanding a turn radius and how to park. Rosalie Chang is the more technical coach while Ed is more laid back, wanting his daughter to experience the car on her own terms.

“They’ll make me do it over and over again until I get it right. I’m getting used to it. Maybe in a couple or three months, I’ll be OK,” says Cassandra Chang.

She also values her alone time with her parents. She has such a busy student schedule that driving often gives them the time to catch up.

“I can see that they’re teaching me the same things they taught my older brother, but I’m their little girl. They’re taking it slower with me.”

Ed Chang says he’s enjoying watching Cassandra progress. His biggest lesson is that the car is an extension of her, so it’s best to understand her limitations quickly.

“When we’re done, we talk about how she did, things she’s done well and where she can improve. I tell her that she must always be looking forward,” he says. “And I tell her that it’s OK to make mistakes now. We can learn from them now.”

Cassandra Chang says she is grateful to her parents for their time, and when she’s able, she’d like to take them to dinner.

“I want to say thank you for setting aside their time for me,” she says.

“I know they’re really busy and they know I really want this, so I thank them and I want them to know how much I appreciate their effort for doing this.”

Getting closer

For 17-year-old Edward Wong of Hagatna, driving with his mom, Mai Ly Roxby Wong, and dad, Ed Wong, has given him perspective, and brought him closer to them. One is soft-spoken, he says, and the other is hard.

“My mom is hard. We have good and bad car rides, but she and I have grown more comfortable with each other. She trusts me more, and I’ve learned how to take decisions from her,” says Edward Wong.

Working with his dad since age 10, when he was allowed to ride mopeds, Edward says he’s been in a constant learning state from his dad, who is a well-known off-roader.

“He started me early. My dad is more laid back; he’s committed to letting me do what I’m predestined to do,” says Edward. “But he says to always be cautious, to make a decision in my head before I do it.”

Edward Wong says learning how to drive has brought him closer to his dad.

“Since my dad started teaching me, since age 13, I’ve learned how to understand his personality more. I take advice better,” he says.

“Our relationship has grown stronger because besides driving, he teaches me life lessons. Every decision counts, and one mistake could affect you for a lifetime - or it could affect someone else.”

As for his mom’s driving style, Edward Wong says she doesn’t really teach him anything unless she gets scared or frightened by something he does. But, he says, she’s always willing to give one important life lesson.

“She tells me that I shouldn’t drive like my dad.”

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