Don't Let The Four Year Old On The Elevator First

The Wiley clan just returned from a fun and mostly relaxing vacation in Myrtle Beach last week.  It was your typical beach getaway, with a hotel on the ocean, lots of pools, sunscreen, sand and even a lazy river.  The family enjoyed the down time before the busy school season of soccer, scouts and schoolwork begins.

As we went to load up the car, we waited patiently for the elevator.  As it was checkout time, the first elevator was already full, so the four year old pushed the down button again and we waited some more.  Soon enough, another door opened and the four year old jumped in with his hat, sunglasses, spiderman backpack and pulling our rolling cooler.  As we maneuvered to get our luggage cart into the elevator...the doors shut with the four year old all alone.

Oh, shit.

There were about 2-3 seconds where none of us did anything.  In slow motion, we looked at one another, then the elevator, then one another.  Suddenly, my wife snapped out of it and ran down the stairs to intercept the four year old at a lower floor.

So the story has a happy ending -- a resort employee got on a floor below us and kept him on the first floor until my wife could retrieve him.  But that's not really why I wrote this blog post.

One way home, I posted on Facebook the following words:  "Travel Tip:  Don't let the four year old on the elevator first."  It garnered several "likes" and a few cute comments.  But today, my friend Latonya messaged me that her whole family now used the phrase "Don't let the four year old on the elevator first" to describe situations where they should have known better.

It got me thinking -- it's a great slogan to live by!  Don't let the four year old on the elevator first!  It's a much nicer way of preemptively saying "I told you so."  Don't be a dumb ass.  I mean, really -- how foolish was I to watch my four year old son motor onto the elevator with no chance for us to keep up?  How often have you done something and immediately smacked your head realizing it turned out just like you thought it would?

Slow down.  Take a minute to analyze the situation and make good decisions.  Plan ahead and be prepared. Look both ways before you cross the street.  If we started remembering to keep the four year old from getting on the elevator first, we would eliminate emergencies, headaches and heartaches all over the place.

Hey, what if our politicians started to use the slogan?  Is creating a new government agency a lot like letting my son jump between those doors?  We know what is going to happen -- the doors close and the agency just starts pushing random buttons.

So whether you are taking a trip to the mall, making a business decision, or planning a new venture -- remember that you don't let the four year old on the elevator first.  Everything else will be just fine.