April 13, 2012

Free time with the kids

Chaplain Aaron Klaves
452 AMW Chapel Staff

Many years ago and early in his career the late Fred Rogers — you know, Mister Rogers — was trying to get his big break in children’s television. His show was becoming popular locally but still struggling to find a national audience. One day a major network asked to meet with Rogers to discuss the possibility of syndicating his local program. During the interview one of the network executives asked, “Well, what costume will you be wearing for the show?” (At that time most children’s television show hosts dressed up as a clown or some other sort of funny character).  Fred Rogers replied, “I’ll wear what I always wear — my own clothes.” The network execs, however, strongly disagreed, insisting that anyone hosting a children’s show should wear an amusing costume. So, the meeting ended with the network passing on Fred Rogers — a rather significant error on its part. Not long afterwards, a public television station picked up his show and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was born — the rest is history. It turned out that the sneakers and cardigan sweaters (knit by his mother — no kidding) were able to communicate with Rogers’ audience just fine, thank you very much.

I use this story as a reminder for us all during this Month of the Military Child; it does not take much to get through to kids. In fact, perhaps the only necessary ingredient for making a positive impact on children is just a little bit of your time. In the Christian Bible, we learn that our lives are like a mist — here today, gone tomorrow. The same is true about the time we have with our kids — here today, on their own tomorrow (I suppose, depending on your present perspective that may be comforting), but for now you have been given some time. How have you been spending it? Perhaps you have been feeling the pressure of buying the latest and greatest toy, gadget, or game for your child but finances are tight. Rather than spending all of your hard-earned money, why not try spending a little more time with your child? Think about it, you will probably get a lot more “bang for your buck.” After all, how many gifts do you still own from your childhood? Do you need more than one hand to count them on? I don’t. However, how many fond childhood memories do you still carry around with you? For me, there are just too many to count. Sure, I admit, I still remember the moment when I unwrapped my first BB gun one Christmas morning (how could a boy forget?), but I have far more pleasant memories of lazy afternoons plinking with my dad. While it can be difficult making extra money to buy all the things our kids think they have to have, it is not that hard making time to spend with them. Take advantage of the moments you have with your children, and make some memories…while you still have the time. God bless!

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