If Fred Rogers/Mr. Rogers was alive today he would have been 84 years old. The indelible mark he left on the world (including me) came primarily from his show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. When I was younger I watched the show with zeal, because of his enthusiasm, the engaging with the camera as if he was addressing every viewer on an individual basis, the way it seemed like I was the only one he was addressing (not egotistically speaking, just his approach felt that way), his red sweater, his addressing me as his neighbor and how he “introduced” me tohis neighbors…
In all honesty, I love Mr. Rogers and the model of living for God he presented; the world and its inhabitants are our neighbors, sure we might not always be up for being neighborly but we should certainly “do unto others as you would have done unto you.” He was a minister, and when he was ordained and looking for a place of ministry the United Presbyterian Church told him to stick with what he was doing, that is, making a wholesome TV show, that was to be his ministry and the viewers were to be his flock.
I appreciated the love he had for others, if you watch some of his shows you get a sense of inclusiveness that is seldom seen on TV let alone in real life. He had guests from all walks of life, and made it known that they were loved, they had belonging, they were worth it and they mattered. I tear up at his love and compassion, God working through him has helped me grasp how I should be and how I should allow God to work through me. His gentleness and getting eye-to-eye with his children and disabled guests speaks volumes to me about how being there is very important, and when you add the little things and the face-to-face/eye-to-eye dynamic that in itself speaks volumes.
It is sad that he no longer is with us the living, but I know that God called him home to be with him and introduce him to all the neighbors who have gone before him.
To Fred McFeely Rogers! 🙂