On a family trip to Key West we approached the southern most point, marked by a giant red, black, and yellow concrete buoy. We walked up to see a thirty minute line of people waiting to have their picture taken. It was hot. We were tired. My wife wanted to leave. “We came this far,” I said, “we may as well wait in this line.”
So we waited and our kids started picking at each other. It was turning into a scene from a bad movie where one parent yells at the kids to the effect, that they were on vacation and they better start acting nicely and better be having fun, danggit. Rather than let things escalate I tried to think stoically and asked the kids what they had enjoyed seeing so far. We had just walked down Duval Street so we had plenty to talk about.
After we ran out of ideas we passed the camera to my oldest daughter while her sister and I posed as cold, hot, excited, scared, and so on. Eventually we reached the marker and had a nice family picture taken, but my favorites are the silly ones that precede it.
One part of stoic thinking is to consider obstacles as showing us the way. The obstacle of waiting in line showed me the way, spend time together taking funny pictures.
The picture above is the ‘cold’ one.