Fred Rogers and his program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood remain an icon of goodness and kindness. With his handmade sweater, from the beginning of each program, he was so curious in the viewer that I still recall the feeling of invitation I experienced watching the program as a child. And, then, he created an atmosphere in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe that was safe and accepting. I hear him even now singing ” Won’t you be my neighbor?” Yes, I want to be your neighbor!
Amy Hollingsworth’s book is a worth a read because we get an opportunity to learn about Fred Rogers outside of the program that he created and the one that lives on in our minds. You will discover a person so authentic in curiosity about people – that despite the parody around it – Fred Rogers inspired awe in everyone he met. One camera man on assignment in the Neighborhood was moved to tears by his kindness. Fred Rogers exemplifies really seeing people – right through a television set into our homes and heart.
You will learn reading about his life, how he was a maestro at communication. His mastery reflected his understanding on the connection between your relationship to self, content and audience. He swam and prayed everyday. He stopped eating meat after age 40. In real life he was a good neighbor. “If we accept ourselves” says Fred Rogers, “we are better equipped to accept our neighbor.” He hated television and yet he was determined to engage with children through this platform and restore its value. According to Rogers, “The space between the television set and that person who is watching is very holy ground.” He was a Presbyterian minister who never used the word “god” or church in is his programs because he “knew more important than the words themselves was the spirit behind them.”
From the Neighborhood Fred Rogers saw and heard us. “Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people,” Rogers said. Thank you Mister Rogers for liking us as individuals!
If you need a quick hit, enjoy an episode or search for your favorite episodes (look for the effect Fred Rogers creates with Relationship, Demand, Atmosphere, Story telling, Interactive Discussion, Our Leadership Legacy – all the sessions of Connection Lab workshop : ))