Mr. Rogers came onto television in my late teens so in my childhood he was unnoticed. Later watching “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” with my son during his younger years I gained respect for Fred Roger’s work.
Fred McFeely Rogers was not just a TV personality but also a Presbyterian minister, song writer, child activist and author in addition to being a good role model. For 895 episodes his show was on PBS spanning over three decades. He was a genuinely “good guy” who swam every morning, was a vegetarian and never smoked or drank. In memory, one of his trademark sweaters is on display at the Smithsonian.
I ran into a man by chance in public yesterday who was soft-spoken with a similar voice and demeanor to Mr. Rogers who stuck in my head since. What has kept flopping around mentally is the start of the show where Fred sang his “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” as he changed into his trademark sweater and deck shoes. You know how some harmlessly inane song can get stuck in your head and won’t go away? Well, this tribute to Mr. Rogers is being done with respect in hope “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood” gets unstuck from my mind.
I will always remember Mr. Rogers a truly gentle soul who devoted 50 years of his life to educating and bettering the lives of children. As far as I know he only had good intentions and was never marred by intrigue or wrong doing. I hope that always remains true as all of us are kids inside and need examples like Fred Rogers. I am grateful my son brought him and his message that “we’re all special” into my life.
You can make believe it happens,
Or pretend that something’s true.
You can wish or hope or contemplate
A think you’d like to do.
But until you start to do it,
You will never see it through
‘Cause the make-believe pretending
Just won’t do it for you.
You’ve got to do it. Every little big.
You’ve got to do it, do it, do it.
And when you’re through,
You can know who did it,
For you did it, you did it, you did it.
It’s not easy to keep trying
But it’s one good way to grow.
It’s not easy to keep learning,
But I know that this is so:
When you’re tried and learned,
You’re bigger than you were a day ago.
It’s not easy to keep trying,
But it’s one way to grow.
From the song “You’ve Got to Do It” by Fred Rogers
“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has – or ever will have – something inside that is unique to all time. It’s out job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression”. Fred Rogers