Where have you gone, Mr. Rogers?

Good Morning Neighbor. 

Do you want to hear a story? A really great story. Oh I bet you do. I bet you want to hear a story about a man named Fred Rogers and how he changed the world. Do you remember Mr. Rogers? Fred was a wonderful man that did wonderful things for wonderful people just like you and me. Can you say wonderful?

You are wonderful, did you know that? We all are. 

But before we get to the story, I need you to do something for me, something very special and magical. Can you do that? Can you do something for someone? That is called being helpful and we all want to to be helpful for one another now don’t we? It is important to help others.

I need you to pretend you are a child. You were a child once, don’t you remember? Do you remember waking ups and watching cartoons on Saturday mornings? Oh how fun that was. What was your favorite shows? Did you just sit and watch for hours and eat cereal from a large bowl while wearing your pajamas? Wasn’t that fun?

Thank you for pretending.

Once upon a time, there was a man named Fred Rogers and he lived in the most amazing neighborhood with the most amazing friends. His friends were all different, but Mr. Rogers didn’t care, he loved all his friends just the way they were. Do you remember the friends you had when you were a child? What were their names?

Do you remember how special your friends were? How special they made you feel?

Mr. Rogers and his friends had the most exciting adventures and went to all kinds of exciting places. Do you remember doing exciting things with your friends? Perhaps you rode bicycles and played basketball. Maybe you played dress up and made lots of yummy goodies in the kitchen. Oh wasn’t that fun. Wasn’t it just the greatest thing in the world to be with your friends and having so much fun?

Do you remember having fun as a child?

Every day Mr. Rogers would always welcome you with a very special song. The chimes of the trolley, the notes from the piano. Can you hear it? Can you hear the song that Mr. Rogers used to sing everyday to welcome you to his neighborhood? Didn’t it put a smile on your face then. Does it still put a smile on your face now?

Do you remember how to smile?

Oh, and then Mr. Rogers would invite the most interesting people to talk to. He would talk to everyone from the postman to the fireman to the police officer. He would always just sit with them and ask them the most compassionate questions and sit back and let them answer. Mr. Rogers was always interested in what people had to say. He was always interested in how people felt. And by being compassionate, he showed us how to be compassionate towards other people. 

Do you remember how to be compassionate?

Mr. Rogers was bullied by adults. I bet you don’t remember that. Sometimes adults would make fun of Mr. Rogers and the way he looked and the way he acted. They didn’t like Mr. Rogers because sometimes he was different. But Mr. Rogers didn’t let it get him down, he didn’t get sad. He would simply say that some people forgot how to be kind, they forgot that everyone is a gift, and gifts are meant to be cherished. 

Do you remember how to be kind to people?

Have you forgotten that everyone is a gift? That you are a gift?

Sometimes the world is big and scary and overwhelming isn’t it? I bet there are days when you feel scared or sad or lonely too. Mr. Rogers said it was always okay to talk about your feelings. Feelings are meant to feel. Sometimes we have big feelings and we don’t know what to do with them, but it is okay to talk about those feelings because it is the only way to get rid of them.

Do you sometimes have big feelings? 

When Mr. Rogers was a small child, he used to get scared of things, a lot of things. He would watch the news with his mom and he would be frightened at all the meanness and sadness that was on the television. HIs mom would tell him to “look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping” This made Mr. Rogers feel better because he always knew there were more good people in this scary world than bad people.

Can you look for the helpers today? Are you one of them?

One time Mr. Rogers had to travel all the way to Washington D.C to talk to people about helping him keep his show. He talk to a lot of people about why it was important to have a show for children, that children are important, and that we must do all we can to show children they are cared about. 

Do you remember what you care about?

Mr. Rogers spent his entire life working to help children know how special they were. He knew that sometimes the only kind words some kids would hear were the ones that he would say to them on the television. Children loved Mr. Rogers because they felt loved and cared about. Maybe you can carry on Mr. Rogers’ legacy? Maybe you can help people know that they are special and beautiful and loved, just like Mr. Rogers helped you feel special and loved a long time ago.

Can you do that, can you love people? 

I knew you could.