“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers … so many caring people in this world.” – Mister Rogers
One of my heroes is Fred Rogers (also know as Mr. Rogers on his children’s television show. It wasn’t that he was a celebrity. They are a dime a dozen in today’s world. I probably only watched a total of 15-30 minutes combined of all of his episodes as I was channel surfing. I knew very little of him when his show was on. From his television persona I thought he probably was a gentle man, but perhaps a little weird.
A few years ago my middle son sent an audiobook to me that he had just read about Mr. Rogers with a strong recommendation to listen to it. I thought I’d be bored based on the subject matter but gave it a try.
Instead, I became fascinated by the man, his kindness, compassion, goodness, and his vision and mission regarding communicating with children in ways that help them to deal with their fears, questions, insecurities, curiosity, etc. He spoke to them as a trusted friend. He didn’t care how many adults made fun of him. He was even made fun of on Saturday Night Live. That didn’t matter to him. The children of the world did. He loved them and they loved him.
I more recently learned that he came out of retirement shortly after September 11, 2001 happened and made a special show to talk to the children and help them work through what they had heard and what they were feeling about the events and reactions of that tragic and fateful day.
I wish he was here to do the same after recent tragedies.
I didn’t know him, but I miss his presence in our world. I would have liked to have been his friend and would have been proud to have called him a friend of mine.