Never had I allowed a documentary to move me as much as I have in the Mr. Rogers bio-doc, Won’t You Be My Neighbor. Although, one could argue that I had no choice in the matter.
Because I didn’t. I yearn for this peaceful state of mind; I wish that everyone can be the person that Mr. Rogers says is in us all. He wants us to remind one another that we are loved and have the capacity to be loved.
Fred Rogers was an integral part of decades worth of children’s development. His calm demeanor and direct connection with each and every child that happened upon his program (Fred would say Pro-grim) instilled a deeply personal interaction that transcended conventional television–
even especially today.
I grew up watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood likely because my Mother did too. With every episode, I remember distinctly wanting to stay with Mr. Rogers instead of visiting the land of make-believe. I loved puppets, but I loved Mr. Rogers more and wanted to spend the entire morning with him every day.
Fred had a way of speaking to children that was inclusive and allowed them to respond and relate because he simply listened. He also spent a lot of time in silence, allowing the children to speak more, and ask questions. Fred himself said that kids in a healthy family first learn about trust, and the silence allows for a conversation, not a one-sided oration. Kids often ask poignant questions, you just have to be receptive in what they’re saying.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor shines a light on the humble impetus of the program and follows the journey of the series as it spanned the three decades it was teaching kids about difficult concepts like conflict, marriage, divorce, tragedy, politics, and even death.
Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was a television show created by a man who despised the messaging from the majority of the programs on the medium, and to that; I can relate. Television is impersonal, and often, irritating. I’ve spent the past fifteen years falling out of love with tv shows, but I never once fell out of love with Mr. Rogers. If anything, Won’t You Be My Neighbor reignited my passion for being a better man, a man like Fred Rogers.
Watch Won’t You Be My Neighbor and treat others with trust and respect.
I bet you’ve read each Program like him, didn’t you?
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