I’m looking forward to seeing the new documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” which looks back at the life of Fred Rogers. Most of us have some memory of his television show which so eloquently and simply reminded us all that the world can be made much better with just a little more love and kindness. Presbyterians, perhaps, have even more interest in his work since he was an ordained Pastor in our denomination and viewed his work as ministry!
In a recent post, the director of this documentary, Morgan Neville, describes some of the major life lessons that Fred Rogers left behind.
- One quality does not define a person – Rogers embraced people’s uniqueness and showed kids “it was totally OK to be exactly what you are.”
- Don’t shy away from difficult subjects – While adults tend to avoid discussing bad things in life with children, Rogers believed they were smart and intuitive and needed a safe place to address their concerns.
- Always stand up for what you believe in – He was constantly telling children that they were worthy of human dignity, self-esteem and being loved.
- A little kindness goes a long way – Perhaps the basic message of all his programming was that radical kindness can change the world, even when it’s not deserved.
- During tragedy, always look at and celebrate the helpers – The world has many horrors and things to grieve, but also incredible examples of people stepping forward to help, heal and restore what has been lost.
Fred Rogers sought to remind us all, on a daily basis, of these and other qualities that can make us the good neighbors that Jesus calls us to be.
Grace and peace,