I loved Mr. Rogers when I was a kid. He was such a calming presence in my young life. I was never ashamed to admit I loved the guy, even when many others saw him as somewhat “old fashioned”. To me, a person who preached kindness, compassion and the importance of sharing your feelings was in fact incredibly “cool”!
Today, more than ever, we need Mr. Rogers. Kids are so stressed. Social media has created a generation of people addicted to “likes” and “views” and “followers”. So much time is spent filtering photos to appear just right, as close to “perfect” as you get. Every one seems so distracted and multi-tasking. Too much of our society has become more cruel than kind. And divisions in race, religion and economic conditions have made us more polarized than ever.
If we had more people like Mr. Rogers, maybe we wouldn’t be in this current state of affairs.
In my particular Buddhist faith, we learn how feeling good about yourself and finding your own internal happiness is our primary purpose in life. And then of course, helping others find theirs.
And while Mr. Rogers wasn’t a Buddhist, he shared so many of its core beliefs. He believed in being kind and accepting of oneself. He was passionate about listening to people and never, ever being distracted when he did so. He rejected bullying. He accepted everyone for who they were and told them so, over and over and over again. All beautiful expressions that are needed today more than ever.
What alot of people also don’t remember about Mr. Rogers was that he was also a trailblazer in many ways. He talked about issues that were taboo during the 1970s and 80s such as divorce. tragedies and disasters. He was all about racial equality before it became the norm on TV. And on and on.
I watched a great documentary recently on Amazon Prime — it’s a few years old but it’s really great.
And there is another great one coming this summer so make sure you catch it…
While Mr. Rogers passed away some time ago, there is so much material on him that is available for you to discover. So while obviously he isn’t around anymore to spread the message of love, kindness and tolerance, perhaps you can share some of what you discover in the hopes that if enough people see it and practice what Mr. Rogers believed in, we will honor this wonderful man and indeed, more Mr. Rogers will emerge.
These times desperately need it.