A Mom, a Boy and an Airliner


Discover how one mom's travel experience turned into a teaching adventure for her son.

Mothers who exhibit extreme patience fill me with a strong desire to applaud them, and even give them a big ol' bear hug – I want them to know that they are my heroes.

I recently was traveling on an airplane, and upon nestling into my small seat and awaiting take off I could hear in the seat directly behind me the sweet, small voice of a little boy as he inquired, “Can I watch the movie now?” To which his mother replied, “Not yet, we have to wait until the plane takes off.”

You guessed it...for the next fifteen minutes that little guy said (at least 47 times) “When is the plane going to go, mama?” Each time she softly, sweetly replied variations of “Soon sweetie, just be patient; I’m not sure; probably really soon; as soon as all these nice people get in their seats, when the pilot is ready,” etc.

I noticed the tone of her voice remained kind and patient. I also noticed that she took opportunities here and there to share some very important sounding tidbits of information with her son. Nuggets of insight such as, there is a pilot and co-pilot, the flaps on the wings move, the flight attendants were there to keep us safe, some people travel for business trips, some travel to go visit family and friends, the importance of seat belts, what an oxygen masks looks like. This mom, no doubt, had her own travel needs and desires, yet she recognized her young son was experiencing a new world and she was taking the time and care to help him (and her fellow passengers) have a good experience. She wisely seized the opportunity to turn travel “hassles” into a teaching experience.

I sat in my seat and marveled and grinned at the ongoing conversation I heard echoing behind me. I chuckled when immediately upon take off I heard, “OK Mom, can I watch my movie now?” To which she replied, “Well, we have to wait until the nice pilot, who wants us to be safe, says it is ok.” Her son was quiet a moment and then said, “But Mom, you said when the plane takes off I could watch my movie!” “She smiled (I heard the smile in her voice) and said, "Well, I made a mistake because the pilot said we cannot turn anything on until we are way high in the air; let’s just both listen for him to say we can turn on electronics!”

A very few moments later, the coveted words thundered over the intercom, “You may now turn on your electronic devices.” I heard a quiet cheer, and as I sat there looking forward I imagined the sweet smile of a child and the quiet release of air from a dutiful mom.

He, no doubt, settled into his movie and she, no doubt… settled into her book... or her thoughts. My thoughts: “That is some excellent mommying right there!” I confess I took a peek behind me and saw that she had her head leaning against her seat, eyes closed, with a sweet look of contentment  on her warm mom face. Her son was quietly and contentedly watching his movie.

That, my dear mom friends, is how you travel with a child. Allow the experience to be a sweet one by journeying with your children with the mindset of an explorer, adventurer, teacher!

Not only will it prove to be an amazing experience for your child, but your fellow travelers may learn a thing or two through you, too! (You may even show up in some nosey bloggers post!)

Written by Tracey Eyster

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