If you rode the school bus when you were a child, do you remember who you sat next to? Can you see the faces of the other kids on that bus? Do you know or maybe wonder where any of them are today?
In his book Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, Pulitzer prize winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof talks about his number 6 bus in Yamhill, Oregon. A quarter of those children who he rode with everyday are now dead. The book tells the story of what happened to his friends and how, like so many other children, they were never able to live up to their full potential.
Recently, I was honored to spend an hour with Nick talking about his book for my podcast Attribution. Here is the episode that was just released today.
It was a brutally honest and deeply personal conversation about our friends, our lives and what contributes to where we end up.
If you have friends whose life outcomes are dramatically different from your own, then this is probably worth a listen. Same goes if you just want to better understand why some kids make it, while others do not.
It is sad to say that I don’t remember or keep in touch with many friends from my school bus. I know a few are dead, others in prison, many are struggling — and have a different political view from mine as to what contributed to or could ameliorate those struggles.
What started with an enlightening – albeit difficult – discussion with Nick, I hope can end with similar conversations with friends and family.
In many ways, we are all still on that bus.
Perhaps by sitting next to each other and simply talking once again, we could find ourselves all driving to the same stop – one better for all our children. Or so we can hope.