I stood in disbelief that I was actually looking at minivans for our next family vehicle. My wife hung on to every word from the salesman mesmerized by the automatic sliding doors. The salesman knew he had my wife on the hook and continued the tour pointing out the much needed features: folding third row seats, 18 cup holders, second row reclining seats, safety features, blah, blah, blah….
As my eyes wandered towards the faster cars in the showroom, I lamented on how suddenly I became old enough to be in this stage of life. Plotting my scheme to get my wife to reconsider the purchase of a swagger wagon, I snapped out of my comatose state shocked by the salesman’s deviation from trying to “up-sell” us on all the extra features.
“If I were you, I would say no to the DVD option.”
What? Was he serious? Two kids under the age of ten, and you don’t recommend the DVD option? What’s the angle? Is there something better you will be pushing instead? Maybe a 3-D, immersive, ultra hi-def, blu-ray, surround sound, special effects plan?
Sensing my less than believing state of mind, he quickly explained.
Years ago, he had 3 kids under the age of ten; before electric power doors and video options in the car. Although he thought that the goal of the vacation was to get to the destination, he confessed many of his memories are on the car ride there.
As I started to break my cynical countenance, he reflected on his kids learned about the world by looking out the window. And, in turn, he learned more about his kids. They talked about their hopes and dreams. They sang songs. They told stories. The played “eye spy”.
“Just because you can purchase the options, doesn’t mean you always should.”
Wow! In a showroom floor on an early Saturday morning. With a horrible cup of coffee in my hand, I just stood there and knew I was soaking in a major life lesson.
And, just because we can go for the extra options, doesn’t mean we always should.
What does that mean for us as educational leaders?
It means we ensure that, while we plan for our students to be prepared for “college and career readiness” when they graduate, we also plan for them to make connections and memories with their peers as well as adults along the way.
It means that, just because we can go high-tech, we remember that personal connection is always better.
And, it means that, while it may not always bring in a high “profit”, we owe it to our “customers” to inform them of what we think is best.