Monkey see, monkey do

Palmer here!

Monkey see monkey do…

My wife and I are on a flight headed to see her family down in Florida. We were up at 3am for our flight so I got a solid 2 or 3 hours of sleep…off to a hot start. 😆

It’s spring break season, so the plane is full of college kids who probably didn’t sleep last night and are traveling in swimsuits and tank tops ready to walk off the plane and go straight to the beach or families who are fully loaded with snacks, Legos, iPads and a prayer that none of their kids lose it.

There are two families seated in front of us who are traveling together. Their kids are probably all between the ages of 7-13. Everyone is tired and ready to get going on the 4.5 hour flight and then the captain comes on and tells us there is a weather issue and we will have another 1-1.5 hour wait at the gate.

Just about EVERYONE lets out a big moan and groans, “Will we make our connection?” “Of course this happened!,” “That’s ridiculous” echos around the plane.

The kids in front of me snap their attention to their mom and dad. All four of their faces wait, watching their parents’ reactions to see how they are going to respond. I wouldn’t have blamed the parents if they got anxious and frustrated but one mom says “You know what, it’s okay. We are all here together and we will do what we can. If we miss our connection, we will figure it out.” 🥹🙌 Her kids’ faces and bodies relaxed and they went back to hanging out.

I could not have coached that mom to say it better. “It’s okay, we will do what we can”… BEAUTIFUL!! The way that mom just helped all those kids’ brains encode how to handle stress while traveling was so cool to see!

It is moments like this that play a monumental role in how kids determine what their response will be to the world around them. Monkey see monkey do. I have friends whose parents were regularly stressed out at airports and friends whose parents were chill and problem solvers and yep you guessed it: their respective kids are nearly the EXACT same way on travel days.

Airports are just one example of where this sort of modeling happens for kids. Whether you realize it or not, kids’ brains are self-programming as they watch their parents make decisions and react to the world around them. How we respond to strangers, family, friends, failure, successes: kids watch it all.

I would certainly never expect parents to be perfect, and having a mom who is amazing but who still messed up PLENTY is a perfect example (sorry mom) 😅Your kids are resilient and it’s not just one moment that will make or break how they turn out, but my challenge for you is to continually consider that your responses to the situations you encounter are impacting how your kids will respond to those same situations in the future. Whether they are 2 or 20 years old, their brains are still learning and taking in how to handle life.

Alright, let’s all go be monkeys that are setting good examples for those around us. Grateful for you and I hope you make today as great as you can 🙂


Palmer and Kerry

P.S. from Kerry: I love Palmer’s reminder (where he calls me out for “PLENTY” of mistakes, in caps and bold 😆) that we parents can make mistakes and mess up and our kids can still love us and think we’re amazing. It’s important to remember that it’s not about getting every moment right. It’s about accepting that every single one of us is imperfect. It’s also about making amends when we mess up. And please bear in mind, when Palmer was a teen, he wasn’t granting me much grace for my mistakes! But in the long run, he found compassion for his imperfect, human mama.

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Palmer Skudneski
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