Airport security frustrates me, not for the process, the possibility of being frisked, or even the new possibility of someone seeing a distorted, but still full view of…well, me. I’m fine with that. The part that truly frustrates me is seeing people go through security as if they didn’t know it was there or what the process is. Boots that lace up to the calf, huge bags full of junk that has to be rifled through, change rolling around everywhere, just simple disorganization. You know what happens: the unprepared get flustered, cause a scene, get embarrassed and hold you up from buying your favorite celebrity magazine at the newsstand. Meanwhile, the prepared stand by, shoes in hand, belt undone, laptop in a separate bin, and change carefully stowed in a bag somewhere. They float through security…no problems, no stress. Just another part of the game.
What does this have to do with your kids? Preparation is everything. If I can continue with the metaphor, it is the difference between trying to entertain your 3 year old with the SkyMall magazine on a 3 hour flight vs. having a bag of gummy bears, a travel DVD player, coloring books, a Dora figurine…you get where I’m going with this. Your ability to control and manage behavior has MUCH more to do with preparation than commonly credited. If you prepare appropriately, you prevent the behaviors from occurring in the first place. You don’t have to worry so much about the “what do I do if he screams and hits the person sitting next to me?” moment. You are prepared. You may be over-prepared (truly, there is no such thing), but that last episode of Little Einsteins softly rocked your 3 year old to sleep, so you can finally remind yourself of how those items in the SkyMall magazine haven’t changed.
Obviously, this metaphor is true everyday, not just with airports and airplanes. The point is that airports and airplanes magnify preparation, one way or the other. It is true of the trip to the store, to your friend’s house, the birthday party next door and the long rainy day inside. Can you predict everything? NO. But you can predict most things (including overestimating how long something will last). OVERPREPARE—your plane was just delayed.