The Last Drive
If you have kids, I want you to think about a question that I am going to ask you. I’m not sure if you have one kid or five kids or anything in between or even more than that. I want you to think about your youngest kid right now, only your youngest. And some of you listening might have already gone through this. This might just be a walk down on memory lane for you or even just a reflection but this is for those of you with young kids. Here’s what I want to do. I want you to envision that kid of yours in the other room of your house packing up all their things. Not long after, your helping them packed the car up, getting all their clothes, all their belongings, everything they are going to bring with them. You are gonna help them load in into your car.
When you start driving you are driving your youngest kid to college and when you get to the school, you try to keep emotions in. You’re helping them unload all their things to their new temporary home. And it’s an emotional time and you are trying to hold back tears. You’re proud. You’re scared. You know after all those years, this is it.
From the time they were born up until to this very moment, you have the privilege and the opportunity to raise this kid. But that part of your life and their life is ending and it’s ending quickly because once you give them a hug, you said goodbye and you get your car ,that chapter of your life or maybe that book of your life with many chapters is over. And I know this might seem so far away, you might have a three-year-old or your youngest might be 9 or 12 right now. Or maybe you have two already be expecting your third and maybe last. But what I want you think about is not driving your kids’ school or unpacking everything or those goodbyes, I want you to think about what it’s going to be like when you get back into that car. It could be you’re alone. It could be you and your spouse. You get back into that car and I want you to think about the silence. The silence is going to greet you and for the first time it might feel like a really long time. You have complete silence. You have time to think.
What I don’t want you to do, being that this is an exercise, is that I don’t want you to think about what life could be like after this. And I don’t want you to reflect back on all the memories that you had together. I want you think of something different. I want you to sit there and think about what didn’t happen. What I mean by that is if you don’t change what you’re doing right now, what will you look back on and wish you would’ve done that you didn’t do? I want you to think about the drive home. I really want you to contemplate the regrets that you’re going to I have during that drive back. On the things that you didn’t do with that kid. The things that you didn’t teach that kid. Or the experiences that you didn’t share together. I want you to think about that drive home and the missed opportunities you left on the table by doing the things that you’re doing right now that you shouldn’t be doing. I want you to think about the trips that you guys want to take together. I want you to write those down. I want you to think about the things that your kid needs to learn from you that he or she has not learned yet and will not learn if you don’t make it your priority to teach it. I want you to think long and hard about the time that you spend at work in the name of being a better provider. I want you to think on the drive home and you possibly wondering and thinking to yourself that maybe you played too small, that maybe you didn’t even allow yourself to dream enough or to dare enough so that not only you could spend more time with that kid but that you are the example to them on what they could do.
Because by you accepting a lifestyle and a career or job is just okay. You modeled that for them to. When you drive home from that day at college, there is no more time to teach that. That lesson has already been taught. I want you to ask this question as you’re driving away in this fictional story and ask yourself, was it worth it? Was it worth it sitting in front of the television all those nights watching whatever was on TV? Was it worth it scrolling on your phone while your kids were playing at the playground to check up on whatever the latest thing? Was it worth taking that position to make more money but giving up more time so we can have a nicer house for the kids when maybe you weren’t around during all those years when they need you to be around?
Now you pull up into the driveway, the driveway in that house. You walk inside and you hear the deafening silence. You walk around the house and it’s nice and clean. It’s not going to get dirty again aside from the occasional holiday and visits. Those years are over. I want to ask yourself about those years sitting in traffic, of endless mornings on the train, of the dreams that you didn’t follow, of the conversations you didn’t have with that kid because wither you were gone, tired or you’re uninspired. I really want you to put yourself in that position, in that day and get past all the modern craziness that you feel like you’re going through. Wonder to yourself, what would I have done differently?
The beautiful thing about the scenario is you have a chance to change it and do it now. Your kid could be a junior in high school. What was the trip that you always want to take with them? What I want you to do is stop listening to this podcast and go and plan that trip. I want you to have that conversation and tell that story about that past that they didn’t even know about you. Go play that board game in the living room instead of going to your phone. Go grab the car keys, take them to their favorite restaurant and have an impromptu one-on-one time where you make those memories. Because I am telling you that it is always so important that when you can’t be with them now, when the tables are turned they are going to find something that’s more important than to be with you later. So, I want you to think about that drive home, the kids at college, you drop them off and It’s over. Are you going to be smiling knowing that you did everything you could to teach that kid, to be with that kid and to be the best example for them that you possibly could? Or are you going to drive away with regrets. Regrets about all the things that you should’ve done but you just didn’t. I really hope that you give this some thought,
I will be back with you tomorrow.