Life Lessons From Mr. Rogers Neighborhood to Your Own
Like me, New York Times columnist David Brooks recently saw the new documentary about Fred Rogers, "Won't you Be My Neighbor".
And like me and so many others, he was moved.
The movie, as Brooks summarized it, demonstrates how Rogers’s children’s show got started and how he used it over 30 years to teach and accompany children. It describes the famous opening sequence — Mister Rogers going to the closet, putting on the sweater, changing his shoes. It describes how he gently gave children obvious and nonobvious advice: You are special just the way you are..
But at its core it was not just about Rogers and the kids.
In fact, wrote Brooks, "the power is in Rogers’s radical kindness at a time when public kindness is scarce. It’s as if the pressure of living in a time such as ours gets released in that theater as we’re reminded that, oh yes, that’s how people can be".
In the conclusion of his powerful essay, Brooks observes:
"Rogers was singing from a song sheet now lost, a song sheet that once joined conservative evangelicals and secular progressives. The song sheet may be stacked somewhere in a drawer in the national attic, ready for reuse once again".