Listen: Aired On Tuesday, November 19, 3 PM, On The Next Right Thing.
"True story. When I was little I thought Mr Rogers was was talking directly to me? I watched his children's program on public television and at the time I wouldn't have thought to mention that I thought he was talking directly trek to me. I wouldn't have thought to say that any more than I would have pointed out that my own mother was talking directly to me whenever she told me was time for dinner because it seems so obvious. Like saying you know the sky is blue and I have two feet. I mean he was looking me and I from my TV. He was asking me questions and he was teaching me about the world. Who else would he be talking to? I simply can't imagine growing up without him and Lady Apper Lynn King Friday and Prince Tuesday. If my preschool years had a theme song it would be almost dissonant rushing tones of the trolley car as it travelled from Mr Rogers living room to the neighborhood of make believe I recently read on. The show's website that the musical director for Mister Rogers neighborhood Johnny Costa said children have ears and their people and they can hear. You're good music as well as anybody else. So I started right from the beginning playing for them as I would for any adults will that posture of playing music for children as he would would for adults. That's a thread that ran constant throughout the entirety of Mister Rogers neighborhood the show aired from February of nineteen sixty eight through August of two two thousand one over thirty one seasons and nearly nine hundred episodes but when we were children we didn't know the intention behind the show for those of us who watched him MM faithfully. We simply knew it felt like home to watch Mr Rogers take off his jacket and put on that sweater to trade. His dress shoes for tennis shoes whilst singing about what a beautiful all day. It was in the neighborhood as for me when he said I was special. I believed him. He made it okay to feel sad. Scared angry or confused Fred. Rogers pastored me in his unique kind and gentle way in a world where gentleness is often confused with weakness. It's important to point out the difference. Mr Rogers may have been gentle but he was certainly not week in fact he started his show because he was deeply frustrated with children's programming and he wanted to do something about it in an interview with CNN. In nineteen ninety nine Rodgers said. I went into television because I hated it. So and I thought there's some way of using this fabulous instrument tournament to nurture those who would watch and listen. How interesting to me that? The thing that compelled gentle Fred Rogers into television was frustration. It's interesting but it's not surprising. Frustration is actually the starting point for all meaningful change. We've ever made any of us. It's also the beginning of meaningful work. That certainly was true for Fred. Rogers I think one reason why Mr Rogers still fascinates US besides the fact that he was a calming presence for us as kids. Kids is we marvel at not only what he did but how he did it. He went into children's programming because he was frustrated without terrible it was he was reformer wanting to use this medium for good rather than for ridiculous can still his demeanor on the show was never wanNA frustration but of unruffled peace kindness and relentless gentleness last week I read an article journalist Tom Gino wrote for the Atlantic about his friendship with Mr Rogers. That's a friendship. That is the basis for the movie. A Beautiful Day in the neighborhood starring. Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers in the article. He references a time when some doctors asked. What if Fred Rogers would write a manual to teach them how to talk to children but because of a schedule he asked for help from a woman who is extremely knowledgeable in child development? Gina wrote that she worked hard on the peace including all her child development knowledge and hard earned perspective in the field but when she handed it to Fred Rogers he crossed out the words of her educated introduction and replaced it with these six words. Instead you were. A child wants to several years ago. While I was was working on a series for my blog I ended up spending a few hours. Rummaging through different videos of various thought leaders business owners and entrepreneurs and then there were also some other people who've made their living providing goods and services for the public after a while listening to these experts. Talk about their work was disheartening. If I'm honest they were smart capable successful people but in these particular videos I ran across. There's also a sense of arrogance of better than Bounus that somehow they made it to the top because they're just the best and the people that help them get their well they were irrelevant at best. Well as these things go. I continued clicking around the Internet as one does and I ended up watching another video within that same hour. This time of Fred. Rogers it was nineteen ninety-seven and he was receiving a lifetime achievement award at the the Emmy's in the video he gave his speech. And I'm going to quote what he said. So many people have helped me to come to this night. Some of you are here summer. Far Away some are even heaven. All of us have special ones. who have loved us into being? Would you just take along with me. Ten seconds to think think of the people who have helped you become who you are those who have cared about you and wanted what was best for you and life ten seconds of silence all watch the time and then there were ten seconds of silence in his moment of receiving an award for his life. Work he allowed. Ten seconds of silence went on national television holding space for the viewer to remember those who have cared for and wanted what was best for them in life. Here's what ten seconds of silence. Silence feels like."