If you are my age your day went like this- watch Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood then GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!! Those were the days weren’t they? I have always had a particular fondness for Mr Rogers, and now as a Millennial, I seem to be drawn to media like this from my childhood. Perhaps it is just my age? I feel like I have been catapulted into adulthood (this girl has always had a vivid, childlike imagination which sometimes is overcome by work, responsibilities and the great digital age.) So wouldn’t it be so normal to recall fondly the characters who influenced my childhood? I should say so.
With Mr Rogers however, my sentiment is much deeper. My childhood was a good one, but I was faced with some obstacles that were quite difficult to get over, most of all my struggle with Alopecia. Some days I wonder how the young version of me dealt with it. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger rings true with this girl. I never talked about my struggle or feelings, never wrote even about it. How did my head not pop off? I was lucky to have two outlets – piano and art. I banged away my feelings on the keys of that poor old piano. Mr Rogers mentioned this exact thing in the film and it struck a chord (no pun intended) with me. I would also scribble and sketch my way through my feelings and for those outlets I am so grateful. With a foundation of Mr Rogers always telling me how special I was (how we all are) how could I go wrong?
Seems some people didn’t get his message. Today people of all ages can’t seem to control and properly direct their emotions, especially the ugly, hateful ones. No longer are we a society that internally processes their feelings. Everyone’s lives are out in the open for all the world to see. They take to platforms like Facebook and Twitter and spew hatred toward complete strangers. This is frightening. What kind of people are we? It is ok to have your opinions and it is ok to disagree with others. It is not ok to bully anyone. Have some CLASS will you?! How embarrassing.
Let’s recall some simple lessons and words from Mr Rogers that apply to every person NOT JUST CHILDREN:
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem. Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”
“The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.”
“There is no normal life that is free of pain. It's the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth.”
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”