140: MMM - Thoughts on that amazing BBC video: What Would You Do?
Oh my goodness. I'm sure you've all seen this BBC video:
It is maybe the best thing I've ever seen, ever. I haven't laughed that much or that hard in a long time. And every time I watch it I laugh again. Every. Time. Every time! It brings me such joy! Laughing out loud, tears streaming down my face. Guffaws, I tell you! It is the best.
(Sorry. Currently laughing. Give me a second. Breathe. Whew. There! Ok, I can go on now.)
I think there’s a reason why so many people (like, 23 million! - and counting) have enjoyed this video: because it is real life ramming up against these facades we create for the sake of our image.
That’s right: real life just came barreling into this guy’s super-serious credibility-building moment in the form of a pig-tailed toddler and a zooming baby-scooter. Oh, and the panicking wife. God, I love the panicking wife!
(Sorry, laughing again.)
I’m guessing this is not how Mr. Expert (real name, Professor Robert Kelly, bless his heart) expected to be ‘put on the map.’ But here he is! And, to his and his wife’s credit, they are embracing it. And I love them for it. LOVE THEM.
But I keep thinking... If that had been me, what would I have done? Would I have blindly palmed my kid in the face in the hopes that the camera was only getting me from the shoulders up? (Probably.)
Would I have just scooped her up and kept right on going, like this spoof imagines? (Ha - no.)
Would I have made a joke of it myself? Turned and taken care of it? (I hope so!)
This is not an easy situation because it's a matter of ‘norms’ and expectations.
The TV interview (especially one at a serious outlet like the BBC and talking about something so serious) has some pretty strong norms that do NOT include a delightful toddler and her panicking mother barreling into the room and dragging them out behind you while you try and answer a question about affairs of state.
So what do we do when REAL LIFE comes barreling into a situation that doesn’t typically tolerate it?
Well, I have some thoughts, if you find yourself in a situation like this one.
First - Acknowledge it. The interviewer gave a gift to Dad (let’s just call him that for simplicity’s sake) by pointing it out, essentially saying “Hey, there’s your kid. We can all see that your child just walked into the shot.” That was Dad's chance to say, “Oh wow - excuse me for a moment!,” turn around, and kindly guide the little tike back out of the room. (Whom I love. She is amazing. I want to approach all of life like that little cutie - just a-walkin my way into any room whose door has been closed to me, full of sass!)
But what if he wasn’t wearing pants, you say?! Well, people, that’s a good lesson: always wear pants unless you want people to see your undies.
Second - Make a joke out of it. Not like a funny-funny-ha-ha joke - but a light moment to diffuse the situation. Like, “Haha, the perils of working from home, amiright?” Or, “Good thing she’s so cute!” or “So much for taking me seriously, huh?!” Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what you say - as long as the intention is to lighten the moment. The intentional lightness allows you to control the moment and relieve the audience of the embarrassment they are feeling for you. Then everyone laughs, and you move on.
(No need to apologize multiple times. You can say it once, and then move on - otherwise your audience starts to feel sorry for you.)
Lastly - Own and breathe through the shame that might be coursing through you. What just happened is human.You did your best. What happened, happened. You can’t go back and change it, you can only control how you handle it now. Try and laugh it off.
Remember that our humanness is what connect us - and that is no small thing.
And that is exactly what this family has done. Read this article about how they have embraced this moment, owned their humanity, and held up the joy and challenge of being a child and a parent so wonderfully.
I am now a fan for life. And that is the gift that these moments have to offer us when they happen - if we can approach them with the right mindset: acknowledge, joke, breathe - and keep going.
(Now, do I wish any of the above had been practiced in this particular moment? Absolutely not. Otherwise, we would have been deprived of this wonderful gift of hilarity that made my and millions of other people’s weeks. But, you know, for the NEXT time. :)