We started watching Mister Rogers a few months ago with Maddie. We had no idea how she’d take to it - a) because she doesn’t watch that much TV and 2) what she had been used to watching was a little bit of Sesame Street, with its high energy and fast-paced style. Well, she took to him in no time flat. She, like I at her age, was mesmerized by him. He was talking to her and she was really listening to him. And to be honest, Jonathan and I got sucked right in as well. The way he communicated to the camera, his slow paced tempo, his quiet, sweet energy - all so calming and comforting and grounding….A little like yoga, no? Truth be told, I find myself actually craving to watch the show – to be lulled into that sweet, simple, innocent space of the “neighborhood”. To be in the “presence” of someone who seems genuine and honest – true to himself in some way.
To deepen my connection to Mister Rogers and to learn more about him and his neighborhood, I found a biography on Fred Rogers and have just started reading it. Here are two quotes from him that I think explain the magic of his show.
“I don’t think of myself as somebody who’s famous. I’m just a neighbor who comes and visits children; [I] happen to be on television. But I’ve always been myself. I never took a course in acting. I just figured that the best gift you could offer anybody is your honest self, and that’s what I’ve done for lots of years. And thanks for accepting me exactly as I am.” (Fred Rogers’ response in The Simplest Faith of Mister Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth.)
“…I’ve never been a kind of a hyperactive, runaround kind of person. I think one of the greatest gifts that we can give anybody is the gift of one more honest adult in that person’s life – whether [the recipient] be a child or an adult.
“And so, for me, being quiet and slow is being myself, and that is my gift.”
(Fred Rogers’ response in The Simplest Faith of Mister Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth.)
How amazing, and inspiring, and brave! Reading these quotes and the book has made me admire him even more. It takes courage, and a deep self-knowing and self-acceptance to be that connected to who and how you are and to be able to share it so honestly. It makes me question how honestly and authentically I am showing up in the world.
The idealist in me also starts to think about what the world would be like if each one of us could simply acknowledge, accept, and honestly and bravely share who we are, as we are.
How about you - can you be you and honestly and simply share you, as you are? What a wonderful gift that would be!
Peace, Love, and Bliss,
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