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If you haven’t heard already, let me be the first to tell you: there’s a Mr. Rogers movie trailer out today, on his birthday, titled, Won’t You Be My Neighbor. If you’ve never cried during a trailer, buckle up buttercup because today is your lucky day.
If you’re unfamiliar with the works of Mr. Fred Rogers, let me give you a quick rundown and also ask you to move from under the rock you live under and find a new neighborhood. The man is probably the most kind, genuine person to have ever graced this earth. In an era of many public “good guy” figures falling from grace, Mr. Rogers has stood the test of time and became the gold standard for being a famous person.
Mr. Rogers has always been a personal hero of mine. He was a devout Presbyterian minister that led by example and was a friend to all but never pushed his views on anyone. He never judged anyone and went out of his way to be inclusive. He practiced what he preached. He saved Public Television from being defunded in one of the greatest showings of concern ever seen.
I often see the quote, “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.’” These words inspire and continue to inspire me. He was always helping people, something I’ve carried on in my work life. Some of you may know that I work with a low-income population in an area that is often overlooked by the rest of the country. Sometimes, something as simple as listening means the world to people. Quite honestly, I could write a dissertation on how much Mr. Rogers has meant in my life.
I know a lot of people our age grew up as one of Mr. Rogers neighbors, I know I did. The guy was a musical genius who wrote and performed all of his own songs. He was a master entertainer. His show discussed a range of things, from divorce, death, expressing your feelings, and friendship. Like Bill Murray, many people have come out about their experience with the world’s number one neighbor that are often larger than life. Even Koko the gorilla was a fan.
In a day and age where we rarely have the attention span to watch anything over a minute or so, sometimes it’s nice to reminisce about simpler times. The trailer showed clips from episodes from my childhood I remember watching. As an adult, I realize they were from the 70s and 80s, and his influence transcends generations. He’s reached so many people in his life work and made the world a better place.
I anxiously await the showings of the one unifying message from our cardigan wearing, Pittsburgh’s native neighbor and friend is, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” .
Image via YouTube