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Glass Half Full
with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D.

Like Father’s Mustang, Like Son’s Mustang

Read this charming story about a 4-year-old boy who gets into trouble and how his Dad comes to his rescue to teach him a valuable lesson.


Guest post by Jack Murray

“Dad, we don’t have to be the first ones there,” Mom would say every time we headed to a party or family gathering. You knew Dad was ready to go, pacing impatiently by the front door, car keys in hand. “Come on, come on, come on!” he rousted us kids to pile into the car.

My brother and I loved to ride in Dad’s car. It was a 1965 fire-engine red Ford Mustang, with a stick shift and loud exhaust. Everyone in our town soon knew Dad’s Ford. The police knew that car as well. He used to drive 90 mph down Main Street back in the day when the speed limit was “reasonable and proper.”

I was thrilled to get my own bright red Mustang pedal car when I was 4. Santa parked it under our Christmas tree amid all those great toys of the ’60s — from G.I. Joes to Mr. Potato Head. Best of all, my new car was an exact miniature replica of Dad’s Mustang parked outside.

Now I could drive just like Dad, as fast as my little feet could pedal up and down the sidewalks. He beamed proudly, “That’s my son,” as I zoomed past.

But one day, I pedaled a bit too fast for my small hands to maneuver the steering wheel, and I plowed into our neighbor’s flower garden. Oh boy, was Mr. Stark steaming mad! He yanked me by the ear to walk me home. I knew I was in trouble then.

My Mom, who answered the door, grew upset as Mr. Stark demanded restitution for the damage done to his prized garden. Assuring him that my Dad would take care of everything, Mom ushered me into the house for a scolding and sent me to my bedroom. “You’re in trouble now. Just wait until your Dad gets home!” she warned.

When Dad returned home from work, I heard Mom tell him about my mishap. He stomped upstairs. Opening my bedroom door, he yelled “Come on. We need to fix up Mr. Stark’s garden!”

So, I followed Dad to survey the destruction. “Bring me a hoe and shovel from the garage,” he ordered. I quickly returned with both. Dad carefully replanted uprooted flowers and showed me which weeds to pull. After we finished, Mr. Stark exclaimed: “That flower garden looks better than before!” Dad showed me how to fix my trouble, a lesson that has stayed with me to this day.

Walking home, Dad smiled and winked at me. “Now that’s my son!”


Jack Murray, an award-winning journalist and freelance writer, serves as Jessica Loftus’ writing coach and editor. He is also her husband.


Photos provided by Jack Murray.

Like Father’s Mustang, Like Son’s Mustang

Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. She currently offers counseling sessions via telehealth in Illinois. Her website,, outlines steps for making a career decision. details. See her retired blog, "Pet Ways to Ease Stress,"

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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2020). Like Father’s Mustang, Like Son’s Mustang. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Apr 2020
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