I grew up on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I was friends with Daniel the Tiger and Henrietta Pussycat. I feared the rigidness of King Friday (feared is not the appropriate word… he was a puppet wearing a crown for gravy’s sake). I wanted my mailman to be Mr. McFeely and was genuinely upset when he never came. I rode that trolly into the Land of Make Believe every day as a child… and as 5 year olds are wont to do, I developed a crush on the sweater-wearing teddy bear of a man named Mr. Rogers. He had a way of making everyone feel important and loved and capable. He didn’t know me from Adam, but I felt like he knew me because he was talking just to me through the TV screen of my 1970s fuzzy picture box with bunny ears that needed to be adjusted every time the wind blew the wrong way.
I recently discovered that the entirety of Mr. Rogers 30-some-odd years of television programs are available on Amazon for Prime memberships to watch for free. One late night a few weeks back during one of my many insomnia-induced nights where I search for anything to do that procrastinates homework, I set out to watch a few episodes. Children’s programming is cheesy… and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood is like a brick of gouda in a vat of velveeta visiting a hunk of swiss with a mistress of cheddar on the side, but the sentiment is still there. The kind, caring, genuinely gentle man made me feel as if I was an important and worthwhile specimen… and who doesn’t need that reminder every few decades?
I’m not versed on the children’s programming of today (you mommies out there may be able to tell me), but I doubt that there is a Mr. Rogers equivalent on TV today… and that’s such a shame. I hope that you who have young kids will take the opportunity to introduce your young’uns to the Land of Make Believe (free for Amazon Prime members… get ye’ there)… tell them Whitney sent you. In my imagination, they’ll know who you are talking about. Thank you Mr. Rogers for teaching me a childhood full of lessons about being kind and accepting of all.
“Mutual caring relationships require kindness and patience, tolerance, optimism, joy in the other’s achievements, confidence in oneself, and the ability to give without undue thought of gain.”–Fred Rogers
“Whether we’re a preschooler or a young teen, a graduating college senior or a retired person, we human beings all want to know that we’re acceptable, that our being alive somehow makes a difference in the lives of others.”–Fred Rogers
In other news… nephews Christian and Ethan found out baby “it” will be a boy! Boys, boys, boys everywhere you look! Guarantee you Auntie Whitney will be making him watch some Mr. Rogers! Lindsay… it’s totally modern so stop it.