My grandson loves an app called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Do you recall that name? It’s a spin-off from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (1968-2001) hosted by the endearing Fred Rogers. Funny – his Mama LOVED Mr. Rogers when she was a little girl. Even when I thought there were more entertaining, animated TV shows to watch, she insisted on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.
Did anyone ever try to cultivate community and a sense of belonging better than Fred Rogers? Mr. Rogers was a kind-hearted, gentle, soft-spoken man.
And like my daughter, many children (and adults) wanted to live in his neighborhood, and ride that trolley into the “Land of Make Believe.” They wanted to stop along the way and talk with King Friday and Lady Aberlin. There were stories that included Queen Sara Saturday, Lady Elaine Fairchilde, and of course Grandpere’. All names strange to the tongue now, but so common 35 years ago in our home. We knew them well.
And one of the things I remember best about Mr. Rogers is his patience to tell the story. There was no hurry. No rush. Even as we watched him change into his sweater and tennis shoes, there was the sense that he had all the time in the world for us. That is a good neighbor.
Let me close out our week with a quote from everyone’s favorite neighbor:
“Finding out that we are one of a kind could be a lonely and frightening thing without the reassurance of knowing that we belong to humankind, and that all humans laugh and cry about many of the same things; that all have similar hopes and fears; that all have many of the same needs; and that those needs are best met by other human beings who can love us for both our similarities and our differences.”
— Fred Rogers