Conversations in the Car
Both of our cars were made in the 1990’s. They each have over 100,000 miles.
And since we’ve lived in Allendale, we’ve put more wear and tear on them than ever before. That’s what happens when you have to drive to the next county to get to homeschool co-op or a major grocery store. That’s what happens when you tote kids around, who drag in pounds of sandy soil on their feet.
My kids insist that I need a new car, since the interior ceiling is becoming shredded. But I remind them that the purpose of a vehicle is not to look good, but to get us to where we need to go, and to help others get what they need.
And more important that how a car looks on the inside are the conversations that happen driving down the road.
Most of the time, when I have a group of guys in my car, I just listen to them talk. Sometimes I’m silent because I have nothing to add, and sometimes I don’t know what to say.
Lots of these conversations center around girls, relationships, and sexual conduct. I usually have this conversation in my head:
“Should I say something? I know they are wrong in their thinking and actions, causing damage to themselves and others. But I want them to be able to freely talk about these things to and around me. But then again, would I want them talking about my daughter like that? That’s sickening! I don’t think they even want other guys to talk about their own sisters in that way. I need to say something, but I don’t need to preach at them. So, what should I say?”
By this point of my conversation, the young men have either changed the subject, or have been dropped off. Fail.
But one time, about a month ago, I did have something to say. When some of the guys were bragging on being a “player” with a bunch of girls, I said:
“I’m going to be honest with you, bro. I made a lot of mistakes when I was your age. I now see the damage that I did to myself and to others. I wish I could go back and change what I did, but I can’t. But I know that God has forgiven me, and that He’s changed me, helping me to follow and trust Him in all areas of my life, including relationships. And I know this, too – I’m very happily married, for almost 13 years now. I look forward to being with Joanna for the rest of my life. And I want you to get married one day, and to stay married. That’s going to be a good thing for you.”
That felt good. I was clear, caring personal, and truthful. Surely they’d acknowledge my wisdom and experience, right?
What I got in response from one guy was, “Coach, that’s crazy. I’m never getting married. No way I’ll ever be able to settle down with just one woman. It’s better for me to never get married.”
In exasperation, I replied, “Well here’s something funny. I’m twice your age, and yet you think that you know more than me about what’s better in life.”
They laughingly dismissed me. Conversation, over.
Or so I thought. Come back later this week to hear the rest of the conversation.