What would each and every one of you respond if you were all asked simultaneously “what time is it?” Chances are the chorus of answers would be pretty cacophonous, given the fact that you reside across a number of time zones. But there is a universal answer to such a question at this time of year. It’s resolution time.
Some of us here, who are old enough to recall it, are walking around the office this week singing “It’s Resolution Time” to the tune of the Howdy Doody Show theme song. Sing along, if you remember.
The sad truth is that resolutions made this time of year generally have little staying power. Howdy Doody, on the other hand, had quite a lot. The show ran on network television from 1947 until 1960. That is pretty impressive for a “first.” The pioneering program was the first nationally televised children’s show, and it became the prototype for the hundreds that have followed. It is still iconic. We can still remember the song.
Prototypes are worth examining and probably emulating. But what, you might be asking, does this have to do with resolutions and the New Year? There are plenty of important lessons to be learned by looking at Howdy’s success and determining why– when many, if not most, well meaning New Year’s resolutions are so short-lived– it endured for so long.
We think we know. The majority of unsuccessful resolutions we and our family and friends have made have focused on the negative and looked to set things right simply by concentrating on what went wrong. The approach emphasizes trying once again, and usually by the same means that have failed in the past, to make change.
The creators and producers of Howdy Doody knew what was right, what would succeed, what was important for children to know to learn and grow. “What time is it?” Buffalo Bob would say. And the Peanut Gallery’s answer was always the same. “It’s Howdy Doody Time!” The episodes changed, the characters grew, new antics were added, not to replace what wasn’t working but to enhance what was.
Here at NFESH it is always resolution time. But unlike typical New Years’ resolutions, ours don’t change with a flip of a calendar page (or swipe of a screen). We are committed to our core mission, clearly articulated in our name. We are resolved to ending senior hunger. Every initiative we create, every action we undertake, is focused on accomplishing that. And when we find out what works, like our What A Waste program, for example, we are determined to broadcast it far and wide.
Here’s another valuable lesson we learned from Buffalo Bob. Without not just an audience but active “audience participation” from them there can be no hope of widespread national and long-term success. We applaud the numerous States, Area Agencies on Aging and congregate nutrition programs across the country who have joined with us to make a difference. If you are still in the audience watching from the bleachers, we invite you to participate.
What time is it? It’s time to resolve to end senior hunger. That time is now.