I just discovered that today (March 20th) is Won't You Be My Neighbor Day. This is a day to remember and honor Fred Rogers, that iconic children’s TV presenter of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. His show reached it’s heyday in popularity back in the 1970’s and 80’s, and repeats can still be seen today. Gentle, soft-spoken Mr. Rogers was a mainstay for preschoolers and their parents; teaching them that respect of those around you and a good attitude were just as important as learning your colors and letters.
Why not don a 70’s style sweater today, and speak softly to your partner? Be mindful of how you can show kindness and patience in explaining a simple concept to a child (or perhaps even to a work colleague!) After all, it’s a beautiful day for a neighbor – and for being neighborly!
So for your listening enjoyment...
Fred Rogers was a Presbyterian, and many of the messages he expressed in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood were inspired by the core tenets of Christianity. Rogers rarely spoke about his faith on air; he believed that teaching through example was as powerful as preaching. He was a pioneer in recognizing television as a powerful vehicle of formation. It was this vision paired with his theological training that made for a truly unique approach.
Rogers’ work not only challenged many societal assumptions but exemplified his understanding of religion as a tool for service. Rogers invited his viewers to be open to our own neighbors by modeling it himself.
In the end, Rogers’ mission was as simple as it was timeless: Love thy neighbor.