Originally published on June 5, 2015 on autoTRADER.ca

Pretty much everything that’s good in my life I have as a direct result of my love of all things motoring. Motorcycles, motorcars and motorsport are responsible for 99 percent of my relationships, my career and my happiness.

It was motorsport that led me to my now wife and daughter who just a few years ago were on opposite sides of the world to me. Despite the oceans between us our shared passion built a bridge from sunny Australia to friendly Canada. I left my job, my friends and my family for a new life with the woman I knew was a kindred spirit – all because of the internal combustion engine.

Now we’re passing that torch on to our daughter. Where I’m from we’d be called revheads, here we’re called gearheads. And we’re proud of the vibrant, diverse subculture to which we belong. One that celebrates fun, freedom and imagination. But that’s only a small part of why raising a gearhead is a fantastic idea.

You may have heard of the STEM focus of education. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM is a dominant education policy these days as it helps promote science and industry among schoolchildren. Nothing is more STEM than motoring and motorsport. What could help foster an interest in science, technology and engineering then explaining how an internal combustion engine works? Or letting your child help you cut up a damaged exhaust pipe?

Nothing, that’s what.

Raising a gearhead means exposing your child to the concept of risk vs reward. It means letting them know that fear is real, and serves a purpose, but should not dictate how you lead your life.

Raising a gearhead means teaching your child to embrace challenge, to do things for themselves, to problem solve. It teaches resilience, and it teaches a passion for fun and adventure.

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Our family spends long periods on the road. If we’re bored, we’ll just drive for hours on end, embracing the time together, exploring for the sake of exploring. A long road trip is an opportunity to bond with your child, to show them the freedom a car can offer. Our favourites are the ones that take us places, like a road trip from Toronto to Indianapolis for the Indy 500.

Maddie has been to three of the six Indy 500s run since her conception, once while her mum was heavily pregnant, once more after that and then this year. The three years she missed were because of illness, because one was a work trip we couldn’t bring her on, and because last year I was Canada-bound as I waited to be granted Permanent Residency. So this year, being able to take that drive together bore special meaning.

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