• Get your finger out of your nose
  • You’re going to spill that
  • Someone’s sitting in front of you, you’re kicking her chair
  • Get your hands out of there
  • You can’t be out in the aisle

Often, I wonder if people would talk they way they do if they had an instant playback function on their commentary. (Or a megaphone that filled the entire cabin what their voices.) I kind of hope not.

I’m not that great – self-disclosure here – about guessing kids’ ages. But, here’s my best guess: the daughter was 4-ish, the mom (oh boy, I gotta be careful here) around 35. They were sitting 2 rows behind me for the 4 hour and 39 minute flight. At about the halfway point, it started.

The older girl started wailing, the mother’s voice raised ever higher, and the dad (smart guy) got up with the THIRD kid and stated, “I’m going for a walk.”

Then, I simply started writing what I heard.

 

I’m no doctor or anything – I only have two Master’s degrees, one in education and one in psychology – so take my commentary for what you may believe it is worth…here goes.

You know that saying, “Practice makes perfect?” Well, in a way it’s true; and, in another way, it’s false. (Oh, and if you’re waiting to hear “Perfect practice makes perfect” I can disagree with that one, too!) What is it your waiting to practice, and how important is it that you are “good” when it comes time to perform?

Here’s my understanding of how the mind works: We seek directives. We need to know (be told?) what to DO. Given the chance, we’ll make up our own action plan about what do; the easiest thing to do next is always whatever we’ve done before…

It’s why kids might scream until they get something; it’s why meetings always start late at work; it’s why you can easily scan any one of your social media channels when you’re in the “in between” time (and could be doing something to move the mission forward: read a trade article, write a thank you card, consider the successful outcomes of a future product launch).

When it comes to being as productive as possible, think about this: “Make it more obvious to know what to ‘do’ right now.”

The easiest way I know of to do this is to think…just a little bit more than normal (aka: practiced). What could the mom two seats behind me have done? When it was time to (quickly) decide what to say – to her children or someone else – she could stop and think, “What do I want?”

Is this hard, absolutely! Is it necessary? That depends…

I have to wonder if the mom had practiced – lately – on small things; when was the last time the kids in her family sat in a 40″ X 28″ space and self-entertained for 4 hours and 39 minutes? Call me crazy, but with a LITTLE bit of thought, their flying experience could have been a WHOLE lot different! Think about it this way:

What are the 18 fifteen-minute activities she could have planned for the three kids (and husband) to make that flight go smoothly?

“Jason, you are crazy! Do you have any idea how much work that would be for a parent?”

Nope, I’m not crazy. Yes, I have worked with parents who are busier than you’d ever imagine. And, my question to you is:

“What’s the option?”

I know what the option is; I lived it for a couple of hours on that flight. Fighting, arguing, stress, upset, crying…hardly what anyone could imagine as “a good flight.”