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Broken Great Expectations on an Airplane

By Edited Oct 9, 2016 6 13

Airplane in The Sky

A Normal Monday Morning on an Airplane
Once upon a time, I was witness to an extreme situation of Broken Great Expectations. It happened some decades ago when I was working rather far from where I lived. So every day I had to take an early (1 hour) morning flight to Copenhagen, and I would return home in the evening - Well, unless I didn't have to go to some business meetings other places in Europe, such as Stockholm, London, or Paris.
Well, in particular the 7.00 am flight on the Monday mornings were always so predictable. The airplane was always full, and quite often it was the same persons every week (commuting businessmen and politicians, etc). We would normally great each other with a polite but silent nod (few were talking), most passengers were reading the daily newspapers or running through the business papers and notes, preparing the important meetings of the day.
Most of us would be silent, those few commuters who talked, would have the conversation with their 'seat neighbor' in a very low voice. But one Monday morning became very different to all the other Monday mornings.

The Entrance of a Little Happy Boy

Some new passengers entered the cabin, they were unknown to all of us. It was a married couple with their son, a boy five or six years old. The boy was not silent, not that he was screaming or behaving in a bad way. - He was just excited and so happy, and it was easy for all of us to hear his words. From what he said to his parents it became obvious for all of us that this was his very first time on an airplane. He was going to experience his very first flight.
He kept on talking while the airplane began to taxi on its way out on the runway, preparing for takeoff. - And his voice was full of excitement: His very first trip with an airplane!
He was so happy, and his happiness spread as a 'positive virus' on the airplane. We put down our newspapers and the business letters and contracts. And we looked forward to a happy beginning of a good day, sharing this happy moment with a little happy boy.
We took off! He looked out of the window and asked his parents: Are we in the sky now?
The parents answered: No, not yet!
The airplane kept on climbing, while he several times repeated his question: Are we in the sky now? Only to get the answer: No, not yet!
We broke through the clouds, up in the sunshine on a summer Monday morning. The lights in the Fasten Your Seat Belts sign went off. And again he asked in his happy exited voice: Are we in the sky now? And finally the answer was: Yes, we are in the sky now!
He looked out of the window, looking intense for several moments. He was looking out of the window once again. And then he said something new, and something completely unexpected.
However, now his voice had changed from a tone of excited happiness to an obvious extremely disappointed tone: But where is God? - His parents and all of us instantly realized that his happy expectations had not been about his very first flight on an airplane, instead his expectations had been to meet God for the very first time. [I have to inform you that in Danish we do not have two different words for sky and heaven we only have one word himmel meaning both] And now when it didn't develop as he had expected then he was very disappointed!

Broken Great Expectations

We all felt a chill. Was this a fatal blow to the faith of his childhood? - His parents began to talk to him, but now in a low voice, so we couldn't hear what they said to him.
I don't know what my other fellow passengers were thinking. And no one dared to make any comments about it. - For my own part, this event directed my thoughts in a completely other direction: Thinking in general over Broken Great Expectations.
And I began to reflect over what could happen whenever someone had Great Expectations, and for one reason or the other those expectations were broken.
On the very same day my main task of the day was to welcome a middle manager as a new employee in the company. Did I really know his Great Expectations? Could we fulfill them, or would it eventually end in Broken Great Expectations?

The whole incident made me realize how important it is that we put aside our own motives and expectations, and that we really think deeply about which are the Great Expectations of others. - The expectations of those we employ, or are selling something to. Or the expectations of those we invite to join events on the Internet, such as Groups, Fan Pages, or Webinars. Because if we do not fully understand what Great Expectations others have, then it will, for sure, end in Broken Great Expectations.



Jul 9, 2010 10:56am
Wow ... this is a fascinating story. In fact, you have made a parable out of the incident, turning it into a event that we all should give some thought to. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Jul 9, 2010 11:06am
It will make me happy if you can use these thoughts in your daily life.
Oct 31, 2010 7:26am
That is a good story. In Spanish we also only have 1 word for sky and Heaven. We try to differentiate between the two meanings by using the article "the" before the word when indicating Heaven. But it doesn't always help with the distinction.
Oct 31, 2010 7:45am
I am glad you liked it! Thank you for the comment.
Dec 16, 2011 6:47pm
Interesting use of a story to illustrate the concept of expectations.
Jan 4, 2012 2:42pm
Thank you for your comment. Yes great expectations are oftentimes not as what we expected - I am glad that you find my true story illustrating.
Mar 1, 2012 6:10am
I was recently a passenger on an airplane. One of the other traveling groups were a grade school class, they were singing and entertaining all of us during take off and landing (it was nice to listen to).
LOL, Maybe the airlines should teach the cabin crew to sing the safety instructions :)
Jun 28, 2012 10:53am
Askformore--this article of yours has left me "asking for more." It is not only a smart piece but extremely insightful'; insightful and empathetic; empathetic and philosophical. I am very sincere when I simply say, I loved it!
Jul 4, 2012 5:46am
Thank you very much for all the nice words!
Mar 26, 2013 6:30am
What a terrific inspirational read. I can understand how people get so bored and unfriendly doing the same thing like that everyday. I hope all the other passengers looked at their lives in a different way after that flight. great story glad you shared it with us well worth the read. It is often the little things that turn our lives around.
Too many people are so obsessed on making money that they lose all focus on the really important little things that make our lives worth living. thumbs up.
Mar 26, 2013 9:56am
A thought provoking article indeed. I was hoping for that traditional "happy ending," with an explanation that satisfied the boy and made us all look deeper. We don't know what explanation was given to the boy by his parents, but it definitely was cause to look deeper. Thanks.
Apr 28, 2013 11:14am
Very nice article and your natural way of talking about the boy's expectations is really great.
Apr 29, 2013 3:25am
To Eileen, KimChaos, and original: Thank you very much for all your nice comments.
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