Take your kids to a ballgame

Lt. Col. David Hanson, 23rd Space Operations Squadron commander (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lt. Col. David Hanson, 23rd Space Operations Squadron commander (U.S. Air Force photo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- So when was the last time you took your kid to a ballgame? How about your spouse on a date without the kids? Took your significant other to the zoo or your best friend to a concert? So long, you don't remember?

The Air Force and Department of Defense are serious when they develop and institute family programs. The Year of the Air Force Family in 2009-2010 wasn't a joke, but rather a service-wide effort to thank and better support those who support us. So what have you done lately to thank your family? No kids, how about your spouse? Not married, how about a significant other or best friend? Family can take on many forms depending upon where you are in your life.

Consider this, plan to take the day off of work, excuse your child from school and spend the day or the afternoon with them. Make it different and make it special - it will be remembered!

A Tuesday afternoon baseball game together will mean more to them than a Saturday excursion when you're supposed to be home. We are given military leave days and civilian annual leave every year. Use these days to spend with those you care for the most. Taking a day off and spending it with them says that they are special and taking this time together is important to me. Guess what? The mission will continue.

Surprise them; show up unannounced and take them out of school. Or, plan ahead so you can both look forward to it. Have them help you plan the day.

A tradition in our family is to take each child out of school on their 10th birthday (or close to that date), go to the military personnel section and get their dependent identification card. Then they have lunch with dad and finally to the store for a special gift, I usually buy them a military coin. I've done this twice before and look forward to another 10th birthday next year. In fact, during a summer birthday while traveling, I took our now 16-year old to the Hickam MPS. Getting a new ID card and lunch in Hawaii were great memories. Our children remember those days like they were yesterday. It was my chance to show them how special they are to me.

If you can't think of any ideas, consider these:

- Baseball game
- Basketball game
- Round of golf
- Local hike; add in a picnic along the way
- Mountain biking
- Bowling
- Movie (discounted price and no crowds during weekday matinees)
- Shopping
- Zoo
- Library to read books
- Concert
- Lunch

Try something new or participate in a favorite activity. Just do something. Leave your work at the office and switch off your cell phone. Make that special person the center of your attention.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, it is. Now just make it happen and do it now before time gets away from you. Go ahead and take your kid to a ballgame. They will love you even more for it.