I took my children to see the movie Cars 3 over the weekend. I wasn’t really looking forward to it since I cry at every Pixar movie (except Cars 2 which was not very good). So you can imagine my surprise when not only did I enjoy the movie but found it inspirational. No tears – just laughs and lessons.
The basic plot has Lightning McQueen, an aging racecar, flaming out and making a comeback. There are many pitfalls along the way, including a new way to train, bullying rookies, and his own ego. But when he seeks out his deceased mentor’s mentor, Smoky, we learn some interesting back story.
McQueen worries about giving up racing because it is all he ever wanted to do – its been the best part of his life. His mentor, Doc, was a racer before becoming his trainer. McQueen always thought that racing was the best part of Doc’s life, that he was never as happy as he was then. Smoky brought McQueen back to his workshop and showed him all the letters and photos and news clippings that Doc had sent to Smoky over the years when Doc was training McQueen. It wasn’t racing that was his greatest achievement – it was training the next generation of racers. That made Doc happier than all the past victories as the Fabulous Hudson Hornet.
As we get older we often think that our best years and best achievements are behind us. What can we do after we retire? What good are we? Well, if we follow Doc’s example, and Lightning McQueen did, we can pass on our expertise and wisdom and smarts to the next generation. Be a mentor, work with young people, volunteer. We have so much to share – let’s take a lesson from some animated cars and be great for ourselves and for the kids.