Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Simple Faith of Mr. Rogers

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I was not quite four years old when "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" made its television debut on February 19, 1968. I'm not sure if my family wasn't able to pick it up, or if my parents limited my t.v. consumption allowing me only one viewing per day. Whatever the case, my own childhood t.v. memories revolve around Sesame Street which first aired November 10, 1969.

It really doesn't matter when I first "met" Mr. Rogers via tv, it just matters that I did. He became such a part of my children's lives that then 4 year-old Kyle was distraught we had to take his 1-year-old sister to the Urgent Care for stitches during "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood". I don't blame him. I always found "The Neighborhood" to be a peaceful place where children were highly valued - everyone was highly valued. We "went" to see how crayons and assorted other things were manufactured, and who couldn't love Daniel Striped Tiger?

Though my children had outgrown the show by the time Fred Rogers died, we were all still saddened by news of his death. The man was gentle and kind, traits hard to come by in today's television market.

Mr. Rogers granted few interviews for he knew the habit of many in the media to distort the facts. He did, however, grant a couple of interviews to a woman by the name of Amy Hollingsworth which sparked a close friendship. After Rogers' death, Amy wrote a book about the man behind the very successful "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood".

While I would not add The Simple Faith of Mr. Rogers to my list of life-changing books, I highly recommend it for anyone who get's warm-fuzzies when they are around trollies or who often catch themselves singing "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." Fred Rogers' faith was deep and real. He considered the space between the television and the viewer to be sacred ground which required him to be in tune with the Holy Spirit each and every day.

I think even we adults could learn a thing or two from Mr. Rogers' simple faith.

~ Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat

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