The radio reports a nasty three-hour traffic jam at the Gotthard tunnel. It’s a beautiful day, in the middle of summer. We just left the house on our way to Rome.
The kids are unable to look beyond the horrific prospect of two sweaty hours off traffic. They want to return home immediately. My wife can’t stand the declining mood. She tries to restore the peace and suggests to-go to Vienna instead. The kids instantly embrace this idea.
We queue up behind a filthy old truck and the air-conditioning just broke down.
A toxic cocktail!
I am behind the wheel and in charge to lead the way. My 5-Stage Crisis Intervention Model:
Stage #1 Confirm and accept the bad mood
“Sitting in a car and not moving is one of the most annoying things there is. Just waiting and not knowing how long it will take. I can’t stand it either. It makes me grumpy and snappy.”
Stage #2 Stick to the plan; leave out the “but”
After recognizing and accepting emotions it is crucial to leave out the “but”, which takes a lot of self-discipline. It is so tempting to talk some sense into those little monkey-heads.
Stage #3 Slow down and adjust the route
Don’t question the destination. Talk about the journey.
“Kids, we have two options: either we take the Saint Gotthard pass, or we take the train; you decide?”.
WARNING! Be 100% sure to provide options that you actually can and want to follow up.
Stage #4 Enjoy the detour
On the top, elevation 2106 meters, we enjoy the panorama and the cool breeze. We even have a snowball battle in the middle of the summer.
Stage #5 Celebrate
Two hours behind schedule we arrive in Rome.
First things first. At St. Peter’s Square we treat ourselves on an ice-cream to celebrate our arrival in Rome.
As a father I determine the destination; my kids decide how to get there.
All Roads Lead to Rome.
The 5-Stage Intervention Model is efficient: a two-hour delay instead of three. It is beneficial for all parties involved: broadening your horizon instead of the limited panorama of a traffic jam. And last but not least it is a positive approach instead of a negative.
Replace Rome for: swim-course, school, ice skating, daycare, no tablet, TV or Smart Phone, getting dressed, leave the house, and so forth.