"You think you are better than me"
We were returning from a long trip down to Georgia to see my son in a concert. We were traveling a total of 800+ miles in two days for a 40 minute concert. You cannot calculate the ROI on this, so don't try.
When you spend seven plus hours in a car with your parents, the possibilities of conversation can be wide and at some points deep.
One of the more difficult subjects anyone can have is about religious practices and beliefs. Another one where I grew up is what basketball team you pull for. Yes they are on equal footing when it comes to discomfort.
In separate company my parents have different approaches to conversation, but there are some similarities. Typically my mom is very direct, but at times may have a alternative agenda. My dad not as direct, but can send signals that you can pick up on, right or wrong.
We had ventured together to Georgia separately. I drove a car down to loan to my son so he could have some transportation during his last semester at school. That is a whole other story.
My parents and I stayed in the same hotel the night we arrived and then the next morning we went to the concert in Atlanta and headed home soon thereafter. Later on, a direct question to me would follow.
We had just arrived at the outskirts of Charlotte. I was driving. As I was focusing on the traffic, a question came seemingly out of the blue from my dad. To paraphrase it was about church attendance. As I wrote earlier, this was not a typical question I would expect from him in a direct way. The dynamic was different since my mom was in the car, so maybe he was influenced by that.
After some stumbling on my part, he said something that has stuck with me. Remember, I like to think that I seek self improvement. What he said made me think about how well I do that. Do I really use all the tools available to me to improve myself? He related how years ago an aquaintance uttered the words at the beginning of this article while discussing dad's regular church attendance. I too had similar thoughts: I you go to church regularly then you place yourself above others. I am sure there are those who do think that way, that they are above others since they go regularly to church.
My dad, however, shared his response to his aquaintance and that has stuck: "I go to church because I want to be a better person." Not better just by going, but better through learning. That made me realize that I had that wrong about him. He did not and does not think himself above others. Quite the contrary. Sobering.
Will this change how I approach my own journey to self improvement? I am still trying to figure that out.
You have many opinions about your parents, but mine shifted a bit that day. My dad is far more humble than I realized. It is another nugget of wisdom I can hold onto. God bless both of them.