The Sea of Complacency

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What can two professional pilots possibly teach us about parenting?

On October 21, 2009, two experienced pilots with a combined flight log of over 34,000 hours in the cockpit, took off from the San Diego airport (SAN) with, as the call it in the biz, 149 souls on board. They were en route to the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport (MSP) for a 3-hour flight.

Do you remember this flight? Either way, I believe this story has a powerful story to teach us dads about how easily we can drift off course in our Fatherhood Journey, despite all of the great intentions we have to be the dads we dreamed we would be.

Here’s what happened—after a 20-minute delay, Tim (Captain) and Richard (First Officer), took off as they had so many times before. After the critical portions of takeoff, Tim and Richard switched the Airbus-320 to autopilot and settled in for the rest of their flight to Minneapolis.

The Drift Begins

At some point during their flight, Tim and Richard began talking about the recent Northwest/Delta merger and their frustration with the new vacation and flight bidding policies. Tim pulled out his laptop to check on the details of one of those policies and he and Richard embarked upon a conversation they would soon learn to regret.

After what they both assumed had been a 15 or 20 minute conversation, their lead flight attendant checked in with them and asked them when they would be arriving at MSP. To their surprise, their flight computers showed them directly over the MSP airport; they had missed their landing coordinates and would have to circle back.

Little did they know that they had missed multiple radio contact attempts from several federal agencies and that two F-16s were moments away from scrambling to make contact with their aircraft.

Situational Awareness

Despite overshooting the airport, these two professionals refocused and were able to land the plane safely with no injuries on board. Both Tim and Richard lost their jobs and their pilot licenses, and thus, their careers. All because they were distracted…drifting.

Both pilots lost situational awareness, as James Sinclair defines it, “Paying attention to what is going on around you and how it can, or does, or will, affect you. It’s seeing the potential for something before it happens, and the capacity to be proactive rather than reactive.”

As dads, don’t we have to be vigilant in the situational awareness of parenting our kids? Over time, if we lose situational awareness, complacency sneaks in and has the potential to drastically change the course of our Fatherhood Journey.


So, what is complacency?

“Complacency is a ‘silent killer’ because it’s so subtle. Unlike dramatic life events that turn your world upside down in a matter of seconds, complacency is a slow deterioration that is hardly detectable. You only recognize it five or ten years later when you look back and realize you barely did anything with your life that was truly meaningful.” —Celine Diaz

As I share in my book, The Dad Drift, “Complacency doesn’t usually show up in an emergency or traumatic event. No, this silent, subtle killer can take years to show itself and can be difficult to detect if you are not paying attention.”

Dads, don’t let a life-changing event to jumpstart your Fatherhood Journey! Don’t let time continue to slip by and allow the silent, subtle complacency take over your life. Make a course correction on your Fatherhood Journey today!

If you would like to learn more about The Sea of Complacency as well as how to combat this ‘silent, subtle killer,’ just click the ORANGE button below and pick up your copy of The Dad Drift today!

If this article inspired you and you would like to share it, I would be honored. All you need to do is to click the ORANGE social media icons below. I would also love to hear from you. If you have something to share or to ask, feel free to post a comment below in the COMMENTS section. I personally respond to all of the comments. -Mark

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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About Mark

I’m Mark LaMaster, and my mission through Uplifting Dads is to offer a place of encouragement and inspiration for men to become the father they’ve always dreamed of being. I believe that all dads have an incredible, God-given opportunity to make a lasting, positive impact on their children, their families, and their earthly homes.

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