Last night I attended opening night of the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, which highlights the life of Fred Rogers.
It felt like an honor hearing directly from those who spent their day-today with him. His family, his friends, his colleagues, his puppets…his imagination.
Ah, Mister Rogers….
You know this guy, right?
The guy who can bring a room full of adults to tears by simply…being.
His soothing voice. His reassuring nods. His overall demeanor.
He was the most genuine, honest, real and selfless guy to once walk the planet.
But did you know…he was also a bad ass.
Don’t let the sweaters and sneakers fool you…
Fred Rogers meant serious business when it came to the loving guidance and education of children. He fought (in a calm voice, mind you) to solidify funding for educational programming and won.
Mister Rogers was the best kind of advocate…because in the end, I can’t help but believe he was an advocate for ALL of us, regardless of our age.
He was the best kind of human. He was honest about his feelings and he encouraged us to be as well. There is no shame in feeling sad or angry and confused.
He taught us that loving ourselves and others was the key to happiness.
He promoted creativity and the celebration of simple things.
Feeding fish. Peeling apples. Sitting with your feet in a cool pool of water on a warm summer day.
I have always felt an extra connection to Mister Rogers. As a kid living in Pittsburgh where the show was filmed, Mr. Rogers really was (in a way) my neighbor. And THAT was a huge deal.
To this day, I still watch the reruns and still feel the same ol’ kind of innocent happiness that every child deserves.
So here’s to a man who so flawlessly taught us that we are special, just the way we are.
Right back at ya, Fred.