Those Two Short, Precious Years

When our daughter took piano lessons with Nancy, I would sit and wait in the living room of her big old house, along with our young son.  We had an hour together.  An hour that didn’t have the distraction of home; laundry, homework, and preparing dinner.  Nancy’s house was full of turn-of-the-century furniture and artifacts, including a harp.  It was a wonder, especially to the eyes of a six year old boy.

Nancy had a television, and we were allowed to turn it on.  During those piano lessons, Mister Rogers Neighborhood was on TV.  This was different, because we weren’t watching it at home with distractions.  We were a captive audience.  Watching Mister Rogers was like being at the movie theater.  Really.  We did this every week, together, for two years.

He certainly made an impact.  Every show was familiar, yet new and exciting.  This became our favorite TV show to watch together.  That was over thirty years ago.  Today, I know Mister Rogers made a difference.  He profoundly influenced my teaching.  And, our son is a kind father with a big heart and positive attitude.

Piano lessons were an hour long.  After a thirty minute Mister Rogers Neighborhood on TV, we read books.  My strongest memory is reading aloud The Velveteen Rabbit.  I had never read this book as a child, so reading the story to my son was a shared experience.  It was wonderful.

When a classic book is still popular, there’s a good reason.  I discovered that.  This book has all the elements that really mean what is most important; childhood fear, worry, friendship, struggle, bravery, understanding, acceptance, and love.  I’m a teacher who reads aloud every day, and I can attest that few books reach the depths of the most human experiences.  The Velveteen Rabbit does.  We worried and cried and cheered together.  We asked a hundred questions.

We were captivated, together.

“You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept.”
The Velveteen Rabbit

Being in Nancy’s big old house for two years was far more than piano lessons.  Sharing Mister Rogers and many good books was the pinnacle.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in books, children's books, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Giving thanks, Imagination, Inspiration, Kindness, Love, reading aloud, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Those Two Short, Precious Years

  1. We all miss the kind and gentle Mr. Rogers. There need to be more shows and parents like him. You have such wonderful memories with your children. I’m sure they appreciate how they were brought up.

  2. Sue Vincent says:

    I don;t know the show, but I love the book…one of the first I bought for my granddaughter.

  3. Opher says:

    He sounds like a remarkable man. We need more like him. Books are the essence of civilisation.

  4. beetleypete says:

    Such fond memories of precious and valuable time spent with your young son. I wonder how many parents would do something like that now?
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      I don’t think as many parents would do that now. The stress of working families is having an enormous impact on children, and they can’t seem to stop and be in the moment with their child. The pleasures of reading a book together make such a big difference. Best to you, Pete.

  5. I would sit with my kids and Mr. Rogers. We always had a good time and certain phrases worked their way into our family lexicon. “Correct as usual, King Friday,” was a favorite. Nice memories, Jennie.

  6. Darlene says:

    What a wonderful memory for you and your son. My life was so crazy hectic when my children were growing up that any amount of time together was so precious. And time to read even better!

  7. John Fioravanti says:

    This is an excellent post about acquiring good values, Jennie!

  8. Dan Antion says:

    This is a great memory, Jennie. Thanks for sharing it with us. Mr. Rogers is a standard by which kids television should be measured. He proved that a caring adult can deal with any situation in a child’s life, with love and kindness and facts, even if the facts are scary.

  9. macjam47 says:

    I enjoyed watching Mr. Rogers when my children were young. He exemplified all that we hoped to teach our children, unlike most of the cartoons that were available. I miss him. He truly made an impact on our children and most others as well.

    • Jennie says:

      Yes! He made a deep impression on children, and adults, too. He was a hero. Like you, I miss him dearly. I wish this generation had a Mister Rogers. Thank you!

  10. Comfy…Mr. Rogers was so comfy. And that made it a great environment to ‘teach’ without it seeming to be a ‘lesson’…
    Thanks for the peek into your special times with your son!

  11. A lovely memory of this time with your son, Jennie. When Michael was three, Gregory also had piano lessons and I used to take Mike with to the lesson. We would do puzzles and walk around and look at the trees, flowers and leaves and even collect acorns.

  12. The Velveteen rabbit-and Mr Rogers- make me sigh. Two of my favorites.

  13. What great memories. Sometimes the most ordinary routines done often enough make for the best times. Love Mr. Rogers and The Velveteen Rabbit. ❤

  14. Tina Frisco says:

    The Velveteen Rabbit is a favorite of mine. Such lovely memories of your daughter and son, Jennie ❤

  15. A Kinder Way says:

    Thank you for sharing this Jennie. I don’t know how you do it but when I read your posts I slow down and read it with a peace and calmness. (Not a common way of being for me)

    This is a beautiful memory and reminded me of the countless (wonderful) hours spent reading with my son. We watched lots of tv over the years as well but the quiet, snuggled up moments of reading will always be my favorite memories.

    • Jennie says:

      That is so nice. Thank you for your kind words! If my post can bring peace and calmness, well that’s as good as it gets. Aren’t memories wonderful? Those snuggled up moments are the best.

  16. dgkaye says:

    Hi Jennie. What a beautiful share. I think Mr. Rogers had a huge impact on so many – children and parents alike. We could certainly use a new Mr. Rogers in town these days. ❤

  17. Kally says:

    I didn’t watch his shows growing up but I know why you meant by having memories of old shows. We need more shows like Mr Roger’s for children and not the violence cartoons.

  18. reocochran says:

    I really liked this post full of “treasures,” Jennie. Lucky daughter (piano lessons with a great teacher!!) Time spent with son, Mister Rogers and gentle book (The Velveteen Rabbit) with loving messages. ❤️

    • Jennie says:

      Treasures, indeed! I think because we were at someone else’s home without the distraction of toys or laundry, it worked beautifully. ❤️

      • reocochran says:

        Aww, so glad you had this time with your son. Lately, my son has mentioned he liked our 15th year of his life when we went together to a family psychologist, I ate out with him, we went bowling, played darts and took moments to “be together.” My last husband was tough on him, for which I felt caught once I realized he was so controlling of us. I am glad Jamie thinks about our weekly effort to “save” him.
        I wish I could redo the years I wasn’t always “there” for my son. Being a boy between two sisters, he seemed happy. . . “Time is important for each child!” I hope someone will read this and think of someone who is missing time with a parent. . . .xo ❤️

      • Jennie says:

        Beautiful, Robin. The fact that your time together is his memory as well as yours says volumes. Don’t we all wish we could redo some years particularly when it comes to our children? Absolutely! All we can do is the best we can right now. I do hope someone who reads your comment will think of someone. Thank you!! Happy Sunday, my friend. 🙂

      • reocochran says:

        It felt good to share this with you, Jennie. My ex is long gone but he scarred my son (not physical, but emotional commenting. I didn’t realize until we had our year with Dr. Michael (Miguel) Hernandez. We re-built our relationship and it helps him to be a better parent/Daddy.

      • Jennie says:

        That is a deeply personal and important thing to share, Robin. Thank you! The emotional scarring is as hard on the child as physical scarring- and far more common. Thank goodness you got counseling. I always think of dark into lightness, seeds germinating, and the Annie song, “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.” I sing that out loud when I need to climb out of a hard place. Apologies for rambling my friend. My best to you! 😍

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