Prejudice. I never imagined that I would see prejudice because of a car I drove.
It was such a surprise to me when people openly expressed their disdain toward my sons because my car was old and not attractive.
When my sons were in baseball. The parents were responsible for providing rides to and from all the away games. There were a few of us parents who consistently drove the boys to the games. I decided that no matter what else was going on in my life—no matter the struggles of the day—I would be at their games and be a dependable driver. Little did I know that the other boys were hoping I would NOT be a driver. No one wanted to have to ride in my beaten-up car.
I happily showed up for game after game in my 1994 Ford Escort to transport 2 more players with my sons. The small hatchback was once white, but it had become so dull and rusted that it always looked filthy. The inside had seen much better days as well. The plaid blue cloth that covered the seats was fraying in some places and torn in others. But she was so dependable! She always started right up and ran like a top! I had experienced a series of pretty, but very unreliable cars, so I was so happy to have this car to travel to work and transport the boys. I called it my “mail car,” because even bad weather couldn’t stop her.
Sadly, none of the teen boys saw my car with the same perspective.
They saw their choice of riding in a full-size SUV with leather seats, a DVD player, and surround sound OR getting stuck riding in the “junk-mobile.” I would watch the boys literally RUN to get into the SUV. The ones who couldn’t fit would hang their heads as they walked over to our car and climbed into the back seat. It was a humiliation they could barely accept. Most of the time, the boys rode silently, not talking or interacting with us at all. Then one day, the most outspoken boy landed in our car for the trip.
“I can’t believe I have to ride in this! Does this piece of junk even run?” he asked as he crawled into the back. My son spoke up right away and said, “Not only does it run, it is paid for, and it sure beats walking all the way to the game!” That ended the conversation. I felt so proud of my son. He understood that the car we drove did not determine our value. Learning to confront prejudice and stand in spite of it was a very valuable lesson for them and for me.
Our world is full of situations that we cannot control. We will find ourselves in places we never imagined we would be. Sitting in my car and seeing the disgusted look on the faces of all those boys was hard. I had to remind myself that my goal was not to impress a bunch of teenage boys. My goal was to get to work and build my future. And if it took driving a beat up, old car to keep me moving in that direction, then I would be very grateful for this car. It was not WHAT got me where I needed to go that was important. It was that I GOT where I needed to go that mattered.
So many people let the opinions of others stop them from achieving their goals.
The even crazier thing is that they let people that have LESS than they do stop them! Think about this for a moment. None of those boys owned their own car. They couldn’t even drive yet. And yet, they had strong opinions about what we should be driving. If I had let their ideals infect my way of thinking, I would have found a way to buy an impressive car and found myself deep in debt. That would have knocked me off the path toward my new legacy. No way. Their prejudice did not become my demise.
As you stand to look at the way others are looking at you (or your car, your home, your job, etc.), remind yourself that they don’t know who you are. They don’t know you are on a journey to make your dreams come true, and what they think of you won’t stop you. Your legacy is worth so much more than a nod from them today.
[bctt tweet=”You are on a journey to make your dreams come true. Don’t let what they think of you stop you. Your legacy is worth so much more than a nod from them today.” username=”CathyTijerina”]
It won’t always be easy to see the situation for what it really is. Find the reason you do what you do and hang onto it. Integrity, peace, righteousness, honor – these are so much more valuable than anything money could buy. Fight the urge to impress others. Live to make an impression on them instead.
Here are some quick tips to overcome the pressure of prejudice:
- Write down what you want. Keep it in front of you.
- Wear your goals proudly. This means making choices that show the world you are committed to your own success, not just saying it.
- Don’t let battles in your own mind derail you from your dream. Win the mind battle!
These 3 simple tips will help you overcome the pressure and create the legacy and reputation you want!
I am rooting for you!