I was a PBS kid growing up, because my mom was not a fan of violent cartoons. Therefore, my childhood was peppered with Arthur, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow, (later, my favorite) Wishbone, and, of course, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I remember being a tot in the late 1980s singing along to “Won’t you be my neighbor?” As I told my friend F, I have been disappointed by every single adult in my life at least once (which is to be expected). I was devastated by the fall of Bill Cosby, to be honest. There has only ever been one human who never let me down, and that person was Mister Rogers.
The World According to Mister Rogers is a collection of sayings, poetry, and songs in which Fred Rogers reflects and thinks about the world around him. He discusses love, friendship, growing up, many themes with which we are all acquainted. He wants the world to be a kinder and more curious place. The section that got to me and broke me was his segment, “We Are All Neighbors.” I remember his PSA after 9/11 when he talked about finding where the helpers were. I can’t even imagine how devastating he would find the state of our nation today. I just know that he would sing to all the kids on TV about helping and loving each other—and that is what is helping me to carry on today.
This book is short but special. I think there are a few phrases I need to hang up on my office wall to remind me to have courage and to treat others well. Perhaps there are a few people in this world who could benefit from Mister Rogers’ wisdom, as well. Ultimately: this is why we need PBS.
Cross-posted to my blog.