The Influence of Mr. Rogers
This blog post will be a bit different than my norm, so I hope you’ll allow my ramblings a bit. I hope it encourages you in your work with the individuals you serve, young to the aged. It all started when a video clip on Mr. Rogers came through on my Facebook feed. The video got my thinking wheels spinning. First it reminded me of how much I loved Mr. Rogers as a kid. Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, and Reading Rainbow (did you know it’s coming back?) were a big influence on me as a young child. Second, it made me go to my lovely Amazon Prime videos, and play an episode for my little ones. I just happened to pick an episode that brought me to tears again. Season 1, episode 12 “Making an Opera, How People Make Sweaters.” While I was sewing hoop streamers, and the kids were watching it, I learned that it was Fred Rogers’ mother that knit all the sweaters he wore! Perhaps you’ll take the time to watch the complete episode, but if not, here’s a two minute clip of him talking about the sweaters.
I can’t begin to describe all the thoughts that have gone through my head by watching that episode and the following one from my Facebook feed. I never imagined the beauty that creating the products Bear Paw Creek has brought to my life, by connecting with people all over the country/world = neighbors. While I am sewing up products, I love to imagine and think about the hands that will touch them and who will use them. I loved how he always showed how things were made, as I was always creating things, even as a young child. The “Neighborhood of Make Believe” was an inspiration and for a while I dreamed of going to California to be a puppeteer. I didn’t realize until my children started watching Mr. Rogers, that his voice was behind most of those characters! Below are some quotes that really struck me. As you are reading them, think about it beyond television, as really, wherever we are placed in life – we are the influencers and shapers of the people we meet. “Fame is a four letter word, and like tape, or zoom, or face, or pain, or life, or love, what absolutely matters is what we do with it. I feel like those of us in television are chosen to be servants. It doesn’t matter what our particular job is, we are chosen to help meet the deeper needs of those who watch and listen. Day and night.” “..by doing whatever we can to bring courage to those whose lives move near our home. By treating our neighbor at least as well as we treat our selves, and allowing that to inform everything that we produce.” “Through television we have the choice of encouraging others to demean this life or cherish it, in creative, imaginative ways.” The video features a clip from a TV Hall Of Fame ceremony where Jeff Erlanger, who appeared on Mister Rogers Neighborhood in 1981, surprises Fred Rogers. During Jeff’s appearance in the program, Mr. Rogers had changed his life through a very simple yet important message. And now after almost 20 years, he has come onstage to thank and appreciate Mr. Rogers’s effort of changing the world through kindness. It’s about a ten minute video clip, but well worth the time.
I am humbled to be able to connect with so many wonderful people that are influencing and shaping the lives of so many through music, movement, and being an influencer. Thank YOU all!