What would Mister Rogers say/do? By Kari Denison

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood broadcast from 1968-2001 and educated generations of youth (and parents) about what it means to be a good neighbor.  Played effortlessly by Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers engagingly and carefully taught viewers about values, integrity, emotion, and family.  He also touched on topics lacking open discussion such as race, identity, divorce, war, and death.

Mister Rogers held one’s neighborhood and the relations that one has within a community in utmost importance.  Everyone has a role, and everyone has value in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood – just as in the real world.

How wonderful!

I grew up watching this ever-popular TV show.  My sister, brother and I loved watching and learning from Mister Rogers.  He was very likeable with his calm and caring demeanor.  Mister Rogers had a unique charm and he emphasized that everyone was special and important.  His puppeteer skills were brilliant.

I try my best to be a good neighbor and positive member of society.  The times we are experiencing today are uncertain and at the same time yield opportunity.  This is a critical moment to reflect on one’s self and the contributions made to our own community and world and adjust, as necessary. 

I wonder what Mister Rogers would say about these curious and challenging times of today.  Maybe… “Peace means far more than the opposite of war.”  Fred Rogers. (Goodreads.com).

Fred Rogers left a legacy of what it looks like to be a positive influencer and neighbor – let us call it the Mister Rogers standard.  I was recently engaged in conversation with a neighbor whose child is entering Kindergarten this upcoming school year.  She has hopes for her child’s schooling experience: “I hope my son gets Mrs. <Highland> for a teacher.  She has a real Mister Rogers feel.”.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all strived to have a “Mister Rogers feel”?

 The Library offers several titles by Fred Rogers, resources about his life and a new memoir from a colleague:

  • Interested in learning more about the life of Fred Rogers?  Check out the biography “The Good Neighbor: The Life and Works of Fred Rogers” by Maxwell King.
  • A new book “Officer Clemmons” details the life of Dr. Francois Clemmons and is now available on the Memoir shelf.  Clemmons played a role on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and was the first African American actor to have a reoccurring role on a children’s television program.
  • The 2019 release “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks portrays the real-life story of Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod.  This heartwarming story displays Fred Rogers’ genuine compassion and a beautiful teaching and learning moment. 
  • To learn more about the making and evolution of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, check out the documentary “Mister Rogers:  It’s you I like” by John Paulson.
  • Interested in watching programs?  Check out Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood:  It’s a Beautiful Day Collection” by Fred Rogers.
  • Kids interested in reading poetry by Fred Rogers can check out “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood:  Poetry by Fred Rogers” by Fred Rogers.
  • Those interested in spiritual insights may want to try “The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers:  Spiritual Insights from the World’s Most Beloved Neighbor” by Amy Hollingsworth.
  • To gain more insight about stepfamilies’ dynamics read Fred Roger’s “Stepfamilies”.

I have a hunch that Fred Rogers would share encouraging words and act with kindness during this time – “There are three ways to ultimate success:  The first way is to be kind.  The second way is to be kind.  The third way is to be kind.” Fred Rogers (Goodreads.com).

Take good care and be kind to your neighbor.

    “Neighborhood Trolley from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood set at WQED studios in Pittsburgh.”
“Rogers and François Clemmons having a foot bath in 1969.”
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