When Charles Lindbergh was thinking about attempting the first transatlantic flight, he ran into an issue. It wasn’t that he had very little money. It wasn’t that he was a nobody. It wasn’t even that he hadn’t flown more than a few hours in one stop before. It wasn’t even that others who had tried it had died.
It’s that he honestly didn’t even know how far the flight was. There is an incredible exchange in his memoir about the flight, where in the early preparation, Lindbergh is talking with a mechanic about his plan to go from New York to Paris by a certain route. “How far is that?” one of them asks. “It’s about 3,500 miles. We could get a pretty close check by scaling it off a globe. Do you know where one is?” “There’s a globe at the public library. It only takes a few minutes to drive there. I’ve got to know what the distance is before I can make any accurate calculations. My car’s right outside.”
First off, this should all make us very grateful that we have Google Searches and smartphones. Aside from that, it should humble us as parents. Lindbergh was a guy who knew how to figure stuff out. We’ve talked about this—that’s what parents have to teach their kids. Lindbergh and his partner end up taking a piece of string, stretching it from New York to Paris across the curve of the globe and then measuring it against the key. They got it pretty damn close too, close enough for him to live!
Could your kids do that? Or do you just solve their problems for them? Have you taught them how to memorize things? Or how to learn things? Have you taught them to be helpless? Or how to help themselves?
That’s our job. To tell them but mostly to show them that everything is figureoutable.
P.S. This was originally sent on January 18, 2021. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”