I have had more than one parent share with me that some of the most important conversations seem to happen between parents and children in the car. I guess it is something about fewer distractions, and no direct eye contact that can help serious topics flow more easily. I recall one question recently, “mom, are we rich?” While a tough question, I was equipped to answer it with context based on my day job.
A harder question, outside of my day-to-day work happened this past weekend. On a road trip to the mountains for holiday-related fun, we managed to get a bit turned around near the Blue Ridge Parkway. We followed the GPS on our phone rather than the car GPS and it took us along many back roads to arrive at our destination.
On that journey, I was noting each time we passed a Confederate Flag flying at a home, including some personal opinions in my commentary. All the while, I had not realized my daughter was finished watching her movie and was listening. Her question broke my banter with, “Mom, don’t we live in the South?”
This led to an interesting and unexpected conversation about the Civil War, flag symbolism, the North and the South and how we feel everyone is equal and deserving of freedom. In October, we ate at a restaurant in the French Quarter, Antoine’s that has been open since 1860. We were able to connect the dots for our daughter noting that she has been in a restaurant that weathered the Civil War and that freedom for African Americans is a relatively new phenomenon when we look out over history. Of course we noted that additional fights for freedom continue.
Like every other such important topic, in hindsight, I so wish I would have been better prepared to share more of the history, context, and life lessons. I think we limped along fine, but I think if it were a discussion about finances I would have nailed it. What car conversation was the most surprising to you?