Mister Rogers. Was he a part of your childhood?
I watched the show a little growing up, but I think Mister Rogers really became a hero for me more as I was an adult. His philosophy and perspective for children and their development is one that I just really respect.
I recently read Fred’s biography, as I was wondering what made this man into who he was.
I have been in a season of change with my own work. As we worked to close down our non-profit studio, I have been thinking through what do I want to do now!? I really still want to help people tap into their imagination, be creative, and feel empowered to bring their ideas to life. So, not much has changed in my passion. I just want to go about it differently.
You can imagine how encouraging it was to read about Fred’s life and how every 5-6 years he changed the work he was doing. Did you know that!? I’m not going to get this perfect but in a quick summary…
- He left a growing career at NBC to work on a free children’s program in Pittsburgh.
- He began and worked on the Children’s Corner for 6 years
- He stopped that and went to seminary
- He then did not get a church after seminary, but he wanted the TV to be his pulpit
- He then moved to Canada to begin Mister Rogers in a 15 min show
- He moved back to Pittsburgh to begin the Mister Rogers Neighborhood that we know
- He quit that to work with adults -wanting to help them, so they can better help kids
- He went back to Mister Rogers Neighborhood
I’m not sure how you sum up Fred Rogers work, but I tried. One theme that I took away from his life is he stayed true to two core principals.
- He knew who he was and what he cared about and loved.
- He had a passion for children development with education.
He might have changed how he went about his work, but he never stopped trying to help children imagine, learn, and walk through big emotions and situations of life. That was so encouraging to read, as I still want to do a lot of the work I used to do. It just needs to be different in this season.
Fred’s mom often said to Fred, “Look for the helpers. There are always people helping”. That phrase helped Fred through scary times and he used it to help others. As I process the world and how many people’s lives have changed drastically the last few years, I wonder how ok people really are? This concept can go lots of directions, but without talking politics, pandemic, or work force, we still know there are heroes all around us. Heroes on the front lines.
The concept of a “hero” can be a big pressure to feel or believe is impossible to reach. How do you become a hero? Maybe you don’t want to be a fire fighter, nurse, doctor, policeman, or teacher, but you can be a helper.
We can be helpers by doing simple acts like…
smiling at a stranger in the supermarket.
holding the door for an older citizen.
taking the trash out for your family.
pushing the shopping cart.
playing a game with a younger child.
making a meal for a hurting family.
sitting with someone grieving.
writing someone a card.
There are so many ways we can be helpers. In this simple ways of being helpers, we really are being heroes too. I love how Fred used easy words to say powerful concepts.
This quote stuck with me and I imagined how inspiring it could be to live on a big wall in a community. I took Fred’s whimsical, childlike heart and paired it with his mom’s powerful words and dreamed up this mural.
I had to get the idea out of my head, so I painted it on a sign and got my talented friend, Beth, to do the words. It’s our mini mural.
We can all be helpers. We all have that power. Being a hero might seem intimidating, but we can all do simple, everyday acts to show the people we interact with that they matter. Taking the time to really “see” people is what can help heal whatever we all just went through these last few years.
We are better together.
Now, don’t you see this painting on a city wall!? Where should it go??? Do you relate your life to books and back to real life again? Go out and be a helper today. I am off to make my family dinner ;).