Bedtime is often a point of contention between parents and small children. It’s especially true in summer, when the Sun shines well into the evening hours, and there is no school looming in the morning.
When Logan was five, Brian and Kelly bartered a kind of informal agreement with him for the summer. He didn’t have to go to bed until nightfall.
It was an agreement that lasted the summer, without incident, until Labor Day weekend. Brian picks up the story in Chapter 23, “This Just Isn’t Right!”
Kelly was tired and turned in early. I had to get up early for a flight. So I let Logan know that tonight he’d be going to bed early and proceeded to herd him upstairs. He didn’t really want to, but he obediently put on his pajamas, brushed his teeth and climbed into bed.
But as I was tucking him in, he looked toward his windows. The shades were drawn, but he could clearly see light seeping into the room from around the edges.
“Dad, it’s still light out. I thought I got to stay up if it was still light out.”
“No, it’s just the street light,” I said. “Just lie down and relax.”
“I’m going to check,” he replied.
Before I could stop him, he bounded off the bed, ran to a window and peeled the corner of the shade back. To his horror, there was still daylight outside. It was the last straining rays of dusk, but it wasn’t nightfall just yet. I had tried to circumvent the issue, but he could now clearly see that I had broken the pact. It was still light outside, and I was putting him to bed.
“Dad, it’s still light out!Why am I going to bed when it’s still light out?
This just isn’t right!”
As he belted out those last four words with all the force his 5-year-old voice could muster, I collapsed on his bed and starting laughing. I half-expected him to scribble a picket sign on the spot and start a protest march. I told him to go into our bedroom and tell his mom what he had said — mostly so I could laugh some more.
But the next morning, I received my comeuppance for my draconian bedtime policies. After a later-than-anticipated bedtime for our whole family, I was up at 5:30 a.m. for my flight. Since we were coming off a holiday weekend, I couldn’t take any chances regarding wait times at the Transportation Safety Administration checkpoint, so I had to make sure I was at the airport well over an hour in advance.
It turned out, TSA wasn’t the problem. The airline itself was. I got to my gate to find my flight had been delayed. Before all was said and done, I waited at the gate for more than three hours. The crew was flying in from two separate destinations, and both of those arriving flights were delayed.
As I sat at the gate and stewed, Logan’s words from the previous night came back to me but in a different context.
“This just isn’t right.”
Great businesses and great opportunities often come from someone saying “This just isn’t right.” Of course, the airline industry is highly regulated, so change can’t happen overnight, but given time, the law of the business jungle will have its way. Either that airline is going to shape up, or it’s going to be driven out of business by a competitor who does things better.
Looking back, I violated good-faith business practices with Logan in much the same way the airline did with me. He had come to expect that he wouldn’t be put to bed prior to sundown, but that night, that’s exactly what I made him do. I had come to expect an on-time flight that would allow me to keep my schedule, and the airline didn’t provide that.
The situations differ, of course, in that my relationship with the airline is purely business. It’s transactional. With Logan, I’m his dad, I’m one of the rule-makers in our house, and he has to do what Kelly and I tell him to do, whether he thinks it’s fair or not.
But the idea of standing up for what you believe is fair rings true in both situations. I’m glad Logan spoke up. We’ll teach him to do it in more of an indoor-voice, civilized fashion as he gets older, but I always want him to speak up if he thinks he’s being wronged. The same holds true at I.D. Images.