What Happened at the Air Show

Hi Readers! I posted this yesterday because I loved it so much and it seemed so perfect for the Fourth of the July. Here it is again, ready for a little more attention after a day off work and, for many, off-line. Enjoy.  – L 

Dear Free-Range Kids: I take my nephews to airshows. The first thing that I do is to take them to the biggest plane there (usually a C-5) and tell them that if we get seperated go to the big plane. I will be there waiting for you. We’ve never had a problem. Several years ago we were at the Wings Over Pittsburgh show. It was a hot day and we went into a hangar to get out of the sun. The boys were acting up so I told them to settle down and stay near me. A voice behind me said, “Just let them go wear themselves out.” When I turned around it was the Commanding Officer of the squadron who’s hangar we were in. He said, “I have people in place to make sure that they can’t get into trouble, just let them go and have a good time.” When I found them a bit later, they were sitting in a raft in a big water tank, wearing pilot’s helmets and having the time of their life at the Survival Equipment shop. The oldest went in the Navy and is now a helicopter pilot. – Jim Collins

11 Responses

  1. http://goo.gl/vqz6h

  2. Jim, that last line of your story brought a tear to my eye. How much inspiration is lost when kids aren’t allowed to explore the things that they love?

  3. What a delight to hear from Jim . . .again. I listen to his “Good to Great” book while spinning or running aimlessly on a treadmill (when its to cold to run outside). He keeps me motivated and his comments today reiterate what’s good about community. Nicole Stoddard

  4. This really sums up why I don’t want to be shepherding every second of my kids’ lives. I hope they find inspiration in the world, not just through me.

    Beautiful piece Jim.

  5. Great story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. I want a “Like” button for this story! It is awesome.

  7. Great story!🙂

  8. This reminds me of how things used to be.
    The summer of 69 I was twelve. My parents dropped me and a friend off at the Atlanta Internationa Speedway for the first Atlanta International Pop Festival (essentially Woodstock South). We were to mee his parents at the gate at some arranged time (midnight maybe). He and I got separated in the first two hours. Ya know what; nothing happened to us. It was fine!
    Yes the world is different now, but not that much different. I fear we are not letting our kids learn to live. A liitle scary.

  9. Uhhh! That’s not me. I don’t write books.

  10. “I have people in place to make sure that they can’t get into trouble, just let them go and have a good time.”

    It’s good to remember that this is probably the case at any event where there is highly specialized equipment or very special skills are being demonstrated. The people in charge are not going to take the risk of letting anything valuable or dangerous be messed with, and so there will be plenty of well-trained eyes and ears around to supervise. And well-trained eyes and ears will not let other kinds of malfeasance go unnoticed.

    Of course that doesn’t mean that you want to inflict out of control kids who have to be suppressed at every moment on the people with the “eyes and ears,” but I think we are, as always, assuming parental judgment and responsibility.

  11. That commanding officer sounds like a man of great wisdom. And the fact that his attitude may have sparked a lifetime interest in aviation is proof of that.

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