We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog to recommend a video to you. We just watched the documentary video, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” about the life and TV career of Mr. Fred Rogers.
Fred Rogers was a pioneer in Children’s Television and became almost the face of Public Television. Along with Jim Henson, Mr. Rogers used public television to speak directly to children’s lives: their needs, their fears, their emotions and helped them survive. The documentary shows children coming up to Mr Rogers and thanking him for what he had meant in their lives. He had a passion to help people, especially children and the strong will to keep doing it all the way to the end.
His task was not easy as he tried to help children deal not only with their personal issues of fear and anger and intimidation but also the public issues of assassination and terrorism and death. His courage was amazing and I highly recommend anyone who had a childhood to watch this video.
It was very informative concerning his career and family and personal life. It parallels the movie that is out now about the journalist (Tom Judon) who started out to write an expose on Mr. Rogers and ended up becoming his lifelong friend. Even though in some ways Mr. Rogers was quirky and almost eccentric, the real person shines through as a consistent, genuine man of character and faith.
I was shocked to learn that toward the end of his career and life, Mr. Rogers was slammed with protests and a hate campaign blaming him for problems of young people. There was no attempt at dialogue or understanding, but a vicious program of slander and blame and scapegoating by a few vocal protestors who made headlines for a minute.
All anyone has to do is see the episode where Jeff Erlanger visited Mr. Rogers neighborhood. Jeff Erlanger was wheelchair-bound from an early age with a physical deformity that left him disabled. He and Mr. Rogers connected on that show and you can see the love flowing between them and realize that Mr. Rogers really made a difference in this young man’s life.
I never watched Mr. Rogers Neighborhood until my two boys watched it when they were growing up. I understood what he was doing and I am forever grateful to Mr. Rogers for his love of children and his work to help and protect them. Watch the show and be a neighbor!