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Keep the focus forward, but appreciate the past

What I enjoy about being a father is that it keeps you young at heart. The opportunities that you are granted to spend quality time with your child often reveal so much about life.

One of my son’s most favorite Disney Pixar movies is “Cars.” It is amazing how watching family movies can initiate a stream of consciousness about life. While watching the movie, a particular song that ignited my psyche was “Life Is a Highway.” When thinking about that phrase, one can agree that life’s entirety can be encapsulated in a road trip.

I have learned that along with airbags and seat belts, the front windshield is another important component of a car because it gives good driving visibility.  So is it with life, through our front windshield, our vision, we can see what life has to offer. The front window is not about sight, but it’s more about vision.

While you have the ability to see things from a peripheral view, it is extremely important that you do not drive based on what you see from that perspective.  If you are drawn into the surrounding environment, you become a threat to everyone who is on the road with you. In life when we spend more time focusing on what surrounds us than on what is ahead of us, we begin to drive hazardously and no one is safe because we have lost focus. While the scenery may be astounding, if we do not remain focused, it can cost us greatly.

To help us drive, a rearview mirror has been added in order to see what is behind us and safely change lanes. When compared to the front windshield, the rearview mirror is minute. It has been designed in such a way that the driver does not spend much time looking back. It is there only for occasional, necessary glances. Any driver that spends his or her life focusing on the past is prone to wreck.  It is good to know what is behind you but you cannot become fixated with the view.

Then there are the side mirrors. These mirrors help to complete what appears to be a panoramic view. What is interesting to me is that in the passenger’s side mirror there is a very important warning, “objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” This message is there because this mirror has a wide angle surface which causes objects to look smaller than what they would appear in the driver’s flat mirror. The warning is there to remind us of the potential danger of changing lanes.  Sometimes there are things in our lives that are closer then they appear. This can be dangerous if we don’t realize just how close they are.

We will continue this stream of consciousness next week, but until then, it is necessary to use all mirrors in your vehicle and in life, but staring into the mirrors too long may cause you to miss what life has in front of you.

Darrio Melton is representative-elect to the Alabama House and will represent Dallas County.