“Karen, I dropped Becca!”
It was our son-in-law calling my wife’s cell.
It seems that “Becca Boo”—her painful but triumphant Sept 21, 2012 birth story here—had hit her head at the Denver airport where we had just dropped the Lindeen family for an evening flight home to Wisconsin. As fathers have for a millennium, Erik had been tossing Rebecca up in the air while she giggled and grinned—till she slipped through his hands.
In response to Erik’s terse—and accountable—opening statement, Karen, the former RN, said, “OK, so, what’s she doing now?”
Becca was crying. That was good news since it beats unconsciousness. Karen chatted Erik through it and they ended the call.
Five minutes later her phone jingled again. Becca was now vomiting, a sign of a possible concussion.
Let me tell you what took place and what did not take place over the next couple hours.
What did happen:
Karen asked medical questions to help Erik and Kristin evaluate little Becca
A nurse waiting to board the same Southwest flight offered her expertise
The Southwest gate agent called for an airport EMT
The EMT asked medical questions while checking Becca’s vital signs
The EMT called for an ambulance “just to be safe”
The gate agent moved the Lindeen family to a flight the next day at no charge
The ambulance personnel focused on Becca, diagnosing her down the highway
Karen and I hammered out a plan for her to go get Erik and 3-year-old, Joshua, while I picked up teen Charlene from her Target job
Karen occupied Josh at the emergency room while Kristin and Erik waited to meet with ER personnel to ascertain Becca’s condition
She was fine. Phew!
The above summed up:
A team, unified in a common goal, engaged in pure problem-solving.
Now, here is what did not happen that evening:
Nobody asked, “Why would Erik do such a thing?”
Nobody asserted, “He should’ve known better!”
Nobody whispered, “What was he thinking?”
Nobody shamed, “What a foolish thing to do.”
The above summed up:
No finger-pointing, second-guessing, recrimination, criticizing, or judging.
If you read Becca’s birth story, you know the lesson is about PERSPECTIVE. Becca’s new story instructs an equally simple but powerful lesson …
I always have a choice:
Play the Blame Game or solve the problem.
Let’s each commit to focusing on solving problems in 2014, while skipping the blame. It will make for an exceptional year.
Now, before we get to our Application Questions, let me speak briefly to dads …
Every father reading this piece has been thinking, There but for the grace of God go I—because every dad knows that every dad everywhere loves to toss his toddler up in the air. Nobody knows why, it’s just what dads do.
All Becca’s dad would now say is, just make sure you catch them when they come down!
It’s okay, Erik, in the interest of total transparency, I dropped your wife once.
For Application and Comment:
Is my typical response one of blame and fault-finding—or problem-solving? The last time someone dropped the ball (or the baby), how did I react? If I need to grow in this area, what will I do in 2014 to change me?