Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
I finally was able to watch this documentary on a flight today and it made me realize how necessary Fred’s message of love, for being just the way you are, is in our current climate. For people of my generation we look back fondly on Mr. Rogers as it reminds us of the joy of childhood and when climbing trees, playing games, taking a trip to the pool and making new friends were the important things. It was when we found the news boring and for “old people.” It was also before the networks tapped into our worst emotions and persuaded us to start disliking each other based on whatever issue might push buttons.
Fred taught us that everyone is deserving of love and that you don’t need to do something sensational to earn it. You can be loved just for being they way you are. I feel that at worst one could be called a ‘snowflake’ for mentioning such expressions these days. I learned that Fred was a lifelong Republican but I wonder what he would think in Trump’s GOP? Now I rarely post political opinions here, I have another forum for that, and I am not here to bash any political parties. I don’t like Trump but I can understand some of his policies, although very few of them. Instead of getting into all of that let’s just take a few lessons from Mr. Rogers.
1. During the Vietnam War King Friday decides to “build a wall against change.” The world is changing at a very fast pace and it can be scary. Information and misinformation is coming at us all so fast and it can be very difficult to discern the truth. Fox, CNN have become awful mouthpieces of propoganda. They’re sole interest is profit, not the good of the country. That should not be understood. You cannot shut the world out nor turn back the clock. The world will continue to change and we should be wise in dealing with these changes.
2. Nixon threatened to shut down PBS or any other station that didn’t behave politically. Sound familiar? Who in their right mind would want to cancel Mr. Rogers or Sesame Street? Lord have mercy.
3. Everyone has inherent value. This is a central tenant of Christianity as everyone is a child of God. When we die and take stock of our lives – and life being a great gift – I think we’d be ashamed at our foolishness, that we spent so much time bickering with each other. What a waste. Your life experience is precious, don’t let the networks consume you with their nonsense for their own profits.
4. You don’t have to do anything sensational in order to be loved. We’re all children of God and if God isn’t your thing then the universe has created the right conditions over billions of years to make each of us. It is pretty amazing when you reflect on this.
5. Mr. Roger’s detractors said “You told everyone they’re special. They don’t have to do anything to earn that. Special. That is what is wrong with our country today.” My opinion is that the strongest people are the ones who exhibit kindness. They know who they are and have a self-esteem to such a high degree that they do not need to put others down and can go against the crowd to exhibit love. I feel it is the weak ones who put down others, tell them they’re not special unless they do or buy something, in order to make themselves feel strong. This became apparent to me when I learned about the sad home lives of various bullies and the current situation of various network talking heads! The greatest commandment is to “love thy neighbor” this is not up for negotiation no matter what the networks or social media say.
6. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – “It’s an invitation for somebody to be close to you. I think everybody longs to be loved and longs to know that he or she is lovable. And consequently the greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they’re loved and capable of loving.”
Life is short, most of us are already middle age. I think if we could just remember Fred’s message of love than many problems might simply dissapear.
How about that!
Here are a few things I wrote down from the movie.
- King Friday builds a wall against change. Sound familiar?
- I don’t think anyone can grow unless he’s accepted exactly as he is.
- Mr. Rogers was a lifelong Republican. My how the party has changed. I wonder if he would still be one in Trump’s GOP?
- Nixon threatened to shut down stations (PBS) if they didn’t behave politically. Again, sound familiar?
- The only thing that ever really changes the world is when someone gets the idea that love can abound and can be shared.
- You told everyone they’re special. They don’t have to do anything to earn that. Special. That’s what’s wrong with our country today. (Mr. Roger’s detractors – hateful people!)
- Everyone has inherent value. To say otherwise goes against Christianity.
- You don’t have to do anything sensational for people to love you.
- Years ago it wasn’t so weird that someone nice like Fred was around
- No matter what our particular job, especially in our world today, we are all called to be Tikkun Olam, repairers of creation. Thank you for whatever you do, wherever you are, to bring joy and light and hope and faith and pardon and love to your neighbor and to yourself.
- Won’t you be my neighbor? It’s an invitation for someone to be close to you. I think everybody longs to be loved and longs to know that he or she is lovable. And consequently the greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they’re loved and capable of loving.