Bring Your Child To Work – or not

3 03 2010

My father worked at Norfolk International Airport as their USN liaison for about four years when I was a child and I can remember being allowed to help screen passenger’s luggage, ride the luggage conveyor belts and go inside the tower to watch planes take off and land.  And when my parents would fly me back to visit my grandparents over the summer, typically alone, I was on numerous occasions allowed to go up to the pilot’s area, sit in the co-pilot’s chair and fly the plane.  I still have my gold wings that I was given by an American Airlines pilot for doing such a great job.  And while granted, this all was long before 9-11, no one seemed to think twice about allowing a child to experience the responsibilities of these jobs.  And I am very certain that nothing I did under the supervision of the employees would have ever ran a risk of a horrific outcome because it was supervised and I was told explicitly what to say and do.

So perhaps because of my childhood experiences I fail to see the big hoopla over the little kid sitting on his daddy’s knee as he took the mic at JFK and reiterated the words he was instructed to tell to the big planes.  The media and FAA has created a dramatic scene, playing this out as though the child ran amuck in the control tower and took his own initiative without any adults telling him what to say and put the lives of so many passengers at stake.  Come on!

Yet, to let the media tell it, this ordeal risked the lives of thousands.  MSNBC’s user poll indicated that almost 10% of its viewers were terrified when asked “How would you feel if you were aboard one of the planes that was directed by a child at JFK airport on Feb. 17?”.  26.9% were enraged.  I only wish the media coverage would take the stance of 61% of those polled who said that it wasn’t a big deal as the child was supervised.  They’ve compared it to the air traffic controller who was busy chatting and joking with his girlfriend on the phone while misguiding a plane to its demise.  The comparison is bleak, as far as I am concerned.  This is a young boy, clearly being monitored and guided by a grown adult who issued clear and direct commands to take off to two planes and the pilots not once indicated any confusion by the boy’s instructions.

What do you think?




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