We’re More the Same Than We Think

We recently got a new car.  My father in law is the consummate car guy.  He literally spent his life working on cars.  Now into his seventies, he is currently restoring or building at least 3 cars.  I lost count. 

I took him for a ride in the car, just the two of us.  He’s normally a pretty reserved guy.  Something about our journey caused him to open up.  He started reminiscing about his high school years.  He is among the first baby boomers and grew up in the 1950s and early 1960s car culture.  He said, “I’d go to the local burger joint and rev my engine.  Before it stopped, there were three guys lined up that wanted to race.  We’d go race on the streets.  We’d have someone look for the cops.  That was dumb; we could all outrun the cops in our cars.”  He chuckled as he said that.  He continued for a while, describing different engines they modified and where they raced.  He then concluded, “Boy, were we stupid.  If my kids ever did anything that stupid, I would have killed them.”

At that point, I smiled.  I wanted to say, “I’ve known your daughter a long time.  We’ve done some stupid things.”  Thankfully, common sense or lack of chutzpah stopped me (definitely the latter). 

After he left, I thought about our conversation.  Our son has entered his teenage years and clearly is looking to test his boundaries.  It’s part of growing up.  I pray he does it safely.  I also thought about the reminders of generational and political differences we hear incessantly from the media.  We’re really not that different.   In the spirit of remembering those that died for us and what they believed to be the greater good, let us focus on our commonalities, not our differences.  The world will be a much better place if we do. 

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