I’m willing to bet most of you reading this grew up watching, or had kids who grew up watching, the television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Hosted by the late Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood first aired in 1968 and continued to reach audiences until 2001, two years before Fred Rogers passed away.
Just last month a documentary about Fred Rogers and his famous T.V. show hit the big screen. The film, entitled Won’t You Be My Neighbor? has been a box office hit and has received rave reviews from almost everyone.
It appears that Mister Rogers is just as popular now as he was when his show was airing.
As a parent and pediatrician, I have great respect for Fred Rogers and what he modeled in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He has set a great example for parents and kids alike. And even though his show ended years ago, he left us with many invaluable lessons we can pass on to our kids and continue to learn as parents.
Mister Rogers made kindness central to his program. Who was his “neighbor”? Everyone. Through the guests he had on his show and the stories he told, he taught children that everyone deserves kindness no matter where they were from or what they looked like. Everyone is your neighbor.
Mister Rogers taught children that everyone deserves kindness no matter where they were from or what they looked like. Everyone is your neighbor.
As one reviewer said, “The most radical thing about him was his unwavering commitment to the value of kindness in the face of the world that could seem intent on devising new ways to be mean. ‘Let’s make the most of this beautiful day,’ he would sing at the start of each episode. He made it sound so simple, but also as if he knew just how hard it could be.”
This is a lesson that adults need just as much as kids.