In my blog about developing the habit of patience I mentioned the fact that – unfortunately – I am not a very patient person. Which is a very bad habit. The good news is that I am working on it and I am even making some progress. This weekend I had a great lesson in patience and waiting from my kids. And from Disney!
Last weekend I had the ultimate training in patience. We were fortunate enough to visit Disneyland Paris which means we had a lot of fun. But it also means there was a lot of ‘waiting’. We had to wait in a lot of very, very long queues. We had to wait in line for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And for everything in between. Some of the queues at the rides were relatively short: 30 minutes. But most were 45 minutes or even over an hour. So how did I cope?
A lesson in waiting from my kids
The thing that struck me the most was the fact that my two young kids had no trouble at all with standing in queues and waiting for a very long time. They were much more patient than me! I was impressed. How do they do that?
Probably because kids do not grasp the essence of time like we do. They don’t really see the difference between waiting for 10 minutes or 60 minutes. They just wait and see what happens. And when it is time to get into the ride they are happy and ready to go!
Personally, when I see a long queue I automatically associate it with negative feelings like: irritation, the feeling I am wasting my time, other people that are strolling in front of me. The only thing on my kid’s minds is the great ride they are going on. They live in the current moment and take each situation as it comes. Just like I did when I was a kid. It’s a shame I lost that skill but I will try to retrain myself. What a great lesson from my kids! From now on I will start practicing this childlike approach to waiting in queues.
Instead of waiting, looking at the clock and constantly grabbing my phone I will have a conversation with my kids.
Next time I am in a long queue and I notice those negative thoughts coming up I will try to push them back and associate the waiting with more positive things. For example: I will use the time in the queue to talk with my kids. Instead of waiting, looking at the clock and constantly grabbing my phone I will have a conversation with my kids.
Disney’s lesson in waiting
The other great lesson in waiting came from Disney. They have a lot of experience with visitors, waiting and queues. I noticed that at the Disney park, the waiting is rewarded in different ways.
First of all, when the waiting is done and you arrive in the front of the queue, you never have to fight for your place in the ride. A friendly Disney employee always personally shows you your place to sit.
Disney knows to take visitors’ minds off the queue and put it on to something else.
Second, when you are waiting, you are entertained in many ways. By videoscreens or things you can see or do in the queue. Sometimes Disney characters parade the line, shaking hands, and snapping pictures with those in queue. Waiting in line becomes an experience of its own. Disney knows to take visitors’ minds off the queue and put it on to something else.
Last but not least, sometimes they remove the queue altogether. Disney has several passes that visitors can use to shorten the queue or even completely remove them. Visitors can wait in shorter lines or receive a text message when it’s their turn to hop on the ride. Children with autism get access to Disney’s disability access service. That allows them to have a much better experience when in the park.