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To this day I can still sing the opening song to Mister Rogers’ Neighbohood.

Lyrics from the opening song to Mister Rogers Neighborhood, a children's show which ran for 31 seasons on public television. The show brought a positive message of love and caring to millions of children every day. Mister Rogers truly changed the world for better.
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Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor?

Along with Sesame Street and Electric Company, Mister Rogers was a childhood favorite.  A new movie is coming out later this year (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) so I wanted to freshen my Mister Rogers memories and learn a little more about him before the movie debuts.  I visited the official Mister Rogers Neighborhood website and I watched the documentary Mister Rogers and Me.

 

A Few Things I Didn’t Know

First a few interesting biographical tidbits about Mr Fred McFeely Rogers…

  • Fred Rogers considered himself to be a musician first and foremost.  In college he studied musical composition and he wrote the melodies and lyrics for more than 200 songs.
  • The music for the show was played live in the studio.
  • Fred Rogers was teased and bullied in elementary school for being shy and fat.
  • Fred Rogers received a degree in divinity and also studied graduate level child development.
  • All of the original sweaters worn on the program were hand knit by Nancy McFeely Rogers, Fred’s mother.
  • Fred began wearing sneakers in the studio so he could run behind the set from the organ to the puppet area without being heard.

 

The Message

Mister Rogers focused on positive messages of love and acceptance.  He was known to say things like, “There is only one person in the whole world like you, and people can like you just because you’re you” and “I like you just the way you are.”  He helped us learn to identify and process feelings and he helped us learn to be better friends and neighbors to those around us.

Honesty is always a good idea. Mister Rogers Neighborhood was a children's show which ran for 31 seasons on public television. The show brought a positive message of love and caring to millions of children every day. Mister Rogers truly changed the world for better.
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Honesty is always a good idea.

As I mentioned above, Fred Rogers was bullied as a child.  It was at that moment that his future path was set.  What a blessing for the world that he was able to turn his bad experiences into such an amazing legacy of caring, love and support for children (and adults too!).

“If there’s anything that bothers me, it’s one person demeaning another. That really makes me mad.”

-Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers first realized that television was an excellent medium for spreading positive messages when he was home on a break from college.  He left school and became an assistant and floor manager for music programs on NBC.  Commercial television wasn’t a good fit so he returned home to Pittsburgh to work at WQED, a local public television station.  He was content working in the background as a co-producer, puppeteer, and organist on The Children’s Corner program for 8 years.   During this time he attended Seminary classes on his lunch breaks and was ordained with a special charge to serve children and families through television.

In 1963, Fred moved to Canada and worked at the CBC.  It was during his time there that he decided to move in front of the camera as Mister Rogers.  He returned to WQED and Mister Rogers aired nationally for the first time in 1968.

After several years in television, things finally came together for Fred Rogers.  He said, “I’ll never forget the sense of wholeness I felt when I finally realized, after a lot of help from a lot of people, what, in fact, I really wasn’t. I was not just a songwriter or a language buff or a student of human development or a telecommunicator, but someone who could use every talent that had ever been given to me in the service of children and their families.”

A compassionate human being using his given talents... and what a remarkable effect that has had on the world. Mister Rogers Neighborhood was a children's show which ran for 31 seasons on public television. The show brought a positive message of love and caring to millions of children every day. Mister Rogers truly changed the world for better.
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A compassionate human being using his given talents… and what a remarkable effect that has had on the world.

 

Use Your Talents

The message that I got from watching the Mister Rogers and Me documentary and researching more about this inspiring man was how important it is to use your gifts and talents.  Can you imagine how many children would not have heard his messages of love and acceptance if he hadn’t realized and embraced his gifts so completely?  While he was certainly unique in his abilities to make people both young and old feel calm and loved, valued and accepted, Fred Rogers is also a beacon of hope to all of us.  We simply have to be ourselves and love our neighbors and we, too, can make the world a little better.

“He was completely present. Absolutely authentic. He made even the most difficult subjects seem safe and manageable.”

-Benjamin Wagner

Mister Rogers taught us that we are all worthy of love and attention.  That it is important to talk and to listen to one another, to learn from each other.  He makes us feel relaxed and important.

Just one kind word can make a world of difference in a person's day. Mister Rogers Neighborhood, was a children's show which ran for 31 seasons on public television. The show brought a positive message of love and caring to millions of children every day. Mister Rogers truly changed the world for better.
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Just one kind word can make a world of difference in a person’s day.
Everyone is lovable. We must spread the word. Mister Rogers Neighborhood was a children's show which ran for 31 seasons on public television. The show brought a positive message of love and caring to millions of children every day. Mister Rogers truly changed the world for better.
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Everyone is lovable. We must spread the word!

 

Here’s the trailer for another Mr Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, that came out just last summer.  I wanted to see it at the theater but that never seems to happen.  One day I’ll get to watch it though!

 

Visit the Set

I didn’t realize it before today, but the set from Mister Rogers is on display at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.  Guess what just got added to my future travel list!!

If you’d like a sneak peek of the set at the museum, click here for a video.

While not as exciting as seeing the entire set, I was able to see one of his famous cardigans on display at the National Museum of American History last spring.

Mister Rogers' trademark cardigan is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Mister Rogers Neighborhood was a children's show which ran for 31 seasons on public television. The show brought a positive message of love and caring to millions of children every day. Mister Rogers truly changed the world for better.
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Mister Rogers’ trademark cardigan is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

 

A funny story…

While at the museum with my kids I was looking at some of the toys on display and talking about how I had some of them too when I was a kid.  My kids asked if that makes me feel old to see my childhood on display in a history museum.  Grr!

 

Every interaction with another person affects them both. Mister Rogers Neighborhood was a children's show which ran for 31 seasons on public television. The show brought a positive message of love and caring to millions of children every day. Mister Rogers truly changed the world for better.
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Every interaction with another person affects them both.

 

“I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex… Spread the message!”

-Fred Rogers

 

Just for fun…

Check out this cool stop-motion video made from paper highlighting different symbols and memories from Mister Rogers and his show.

 

Have you seen the newest movie yet?

Here’s the trailer for the latest movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks.  It’s finally out in the theaters but I haven’t seen it yet.  It’s on the list though!

 

Sharing is Caring

Pin it and help spread the word about this kind and wonderful man who was an example we all should be following.

An image to share on Pinterest showing Mister Rogers' cardigan on display at the Smithsonian museum in Washington, DC
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What a great example to follow on how to be a good human. Fred Rogers taught us the importance of honesty, love, and respect for one another. He makes us feel safe, relaxed, and important and has made the world today a better place through his gifts and work.

 

Follow me

Want to come along with me in an attempt to make the world a little bit better?  Click the photo below to sign up for the email-guided kindness journey.  Every time someone joins, I play along too.  Let’s get out there and spread kindness together! I’m sure Mister Rogers would’ve loved it!

3 day kindness journey email challenge behind every day
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Join me on a 3 day kindness journey to make ourselves and the world just a little bit better.
Deep and Simple via @behindeveryday
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2 Comments

  1. I love this article! Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood definitely holds a special place in my childhood memories! I love the info and positive messages that you shared, and look forward to checking out the movie – it wasn’t on my radar before, but now it’s one I will go see. Also, I love how his legacy is inspiring another travel destination for you! I look forward to reading about that trip! Best!

    1. Thanks! I hope I get to the museum sooner rather than later but I definitely seem to add things to my list much faster than I actually get to them. I’m working on a different article now and added another place to visit with that one too. Haha!

      Mr Rogers is definitely someone worth emulating. 🙂

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