Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why We Should ALL Be Missing Mr. Rogers

For no particular reason today, I'm missing Mister. Rogers.  You know, that guy who dressed in a cardigan and used to have his own kids' show on PBS.  As I write this, in a discarded second grader's spiral notebook, I'm at the town pool.  Kids are screaming and splashing.  My daughter is out there somewhere, romping with her posse while my teenager is home, spouting gaming nonsense.  I am one of those mother's I'd always hoped to be - on the sidelines of the mayhem, at peace.  Yet for some reason, I can't get Fred Rogers off my mind.

I was never a fan of the man while he was alive.  My son passed on the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood show and the simplicity of it never appealed to me.  It was quaint, hokey, low-tech.  It reminded me of an old, musty Poconos retreat.  The show screamed OBSOLETE.  It wasn't until much, much later that I began to appreciate the brilliance of Mr. Rogers when his show was in reruns.   

My baby daughter, like her older brother, wasn't taken with Fred, but our new post-9/11 world, I saw his gentleness as a constant, soothing balm.  Unlike other kids' shows produced by conglomerates, his was simple, held together by someone who simply related to kids and did not seek to exploit them for a merchandising buck.  He modeled respect, clean living, self-acceptance.  And who, as parents, wouldn't want to take a trolley to an idyllic Land of Make Believe? 

Maybe here, at our town pool, I'm thinking of Fred because I'm surrounded by so many neighbors who are surreptitiously eying and judging each other based on their level of physical fitness, dress, where their kids are going for summer camp, and how expensive their summer vacations have, thus far, been.  I can picture Mr. Rogers, smiling, encouraging us to be who are are because we're special just the way we are. 

For those of you, like me, who miss Fred or want to know more about him, here are some links to his wisdom:

  • The Immoral Minority (don't be put off by the title of the website) has this article listing 6 Amazing Facts About Mr. Rogers  
  • CNN gives readers 15 Reasons Why Mr. Rogers Was The Best Neighbor Ever
  • Good Reads lists a bunch of Fred's quotes here
  • Mental Floss has this wonderful article by Benjamin Wagner entitled 46 Things I Learned Making Mister Rogers & Me (Wagner's documentary about Fred)
When being a mom (aka Manager Of Mayhem), gets to be too much, we can all take comfort in the calmness that was Mr. Rogers.  Now, pardon me.  I've got a trolley to catch.


Thank you for reading!   Please visit my other blog, Mom's Crayon, too!

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