One of the top books trending on Amazon, and was recently named a New York Times Best Seller, is The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King. The book by King is an in depth biography about everyone’s favorite person growing up; Mr. Fred Rogers. Chronicling the life and times of this almost saintly PBS star, we get a really close look into an adult figure that basically shaped the modern times through his unconditional sense of nurturing and embracing the love of helping others grow. Even thou he is gone, that cardigan and simplistic smile still represents so much today.
i was fortunate enough to grow up in the time frame when Fred Rogers was producing the famous PBS show directly day in and day out. Although i was younger and started to watch the show and Mr Rogers in his later part of his legendary broadcasting career, i still loved to rush to the TV back in the day and wait to see the friendly neighbor walk through his door. i feel now that i am 24 i look back and become enthralled with what i learned from the show. Even if we did not know we were learning the skills to be a good human being, Fred Rogers always knew his audience was learning. Through his teachings and time with us, we learned what Fred Roger’s idea of being a good person was and how very simple it could be.
It has been nearly sixteen years since Fred Rogers left our neighborhood, a new generation of children have come and started to learn of the lessons he gave us, but what if i told you that we need to revisit the episodes of a simple man ourselves?
It seems these days we haven’t been the friendliest of neighbors to each other. Building walls, hurting one another and not simply being kind when we need it the most. We know that this world is not meant to be perfect, nor is meant to be catastrophic in nature, but what we should start as 2019 is in its infantile stages is to be more like Fred Rogers and take up his Good Neighbor mantle he left behind for us. I like to believe that the world could use a good neighbor like Mr. Rogers these days. He was imperfect and that’s the way we all are, he loved unconditionally which we all have the potential to create, and he never created a persona for himself to supply the audience, in short terms he never stopped being who he was a rare, authentic form of a man.
“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.” – Fred Rogers
Fred Rogers always tried to bring the best out of people, even adults. In times of hardship and tragedy, we always looked for comfort in the things that are familiar to use and our childhood usually makes an appearance. In recent years, we have had things happen in this world that should never happen to anyone under our sun and stars, unspeakable acts and disasters that have rattled us to our very core, that have changed us in ways we wished we weren’t changed. But even in the 21st century and almost two decades since he passed away Fred Rogers is still helping us even in adulthood. As he said before “look for the helpers”, but i think we can do better than look for them. Lets be the helpers in times where things are not so good. It doesn’t have to be on a cataclysmic scale but we can be the ones that help others day in and day out even on the smallest things. Lets be the ones the next generation looks to in times of strife and say “Yes there they are, the helpers”.
I like to think this will be my goal for not only 2019 but in the years to come as well. We can all use a neighbor during our life, to help us on both our bad days and to help celebrate the good ones. i challenge those who are reading this to be a little more neighborly this year and it doesn’t have to be on a major scale. It can be simple and sweet and still have all the value still to it. If not the most important challenge i ask of those who read this is very simple and honors Fred Rogers the most; be kind.